Skip to main content

Full text of "Memoirs of Lady Russell and Lady Herbert, 1623-1723"

See other formats





1623 1723 















THE Memoirs and the Correspondence contained 
in this volume were dealt with in works published 
from time to time in the earlier half of the century. 
It may be considered, however, that they now 
come with some freshness ; since the works referred 
to have long been out of print, and in this volume 
they have been compiled from original family 
documents, by Lady Stepney, who lived four 
generations ago. The MSS. were left by Lady 
Stepney to her son Admiral Manners, by whom 
they were bequeathed to Colonel Pollok, her 
great-nephew, at whose instance they are now 



LADY RUSSELL . . . . . % x 

LADY HERBERT . . . . . 2Og 



AMONG the counsellors and defenders of 
Charles I. in his adversities, Thomas 
Wriothesley, Earl of Southampton, was at 
the same time one of the most faithful and 
most independent. He was descended from 
a man of the same name, who was Lord 
Chancellor under Henry VIII., and was 
appointed by His Majesty's will one of the 
sixteen guardians of Edward VI. A younger 
son, he was suddenly placed in possession 
of the title and the fortune of his family by 
the almost simultaneous deaths of his father 

2 Memoirs of 

and his elder brother. His disposition led 
him to love neither the Court nor his own 
position. He was more embarrassed than 
pleased by his elevation, and for some time 
he coloured and turned away his head 
when addressed as " My Lord." He was 
of a melancholy temperament, indolent and 
proud, with strong passions, reserved and 
taciturn, much attached to his own ideas 
and feelings, and ready to make any sacrifice 
in support of them, but without wish to lead, 
not sanguine, little excited by success, and 
leaving his retirement only from duty or 

After passing through college, Lord 
Southampton spent some time on the 
Continent, where he met the lady who 
became his first .wife. On his return to his 
native country, he lived in private, taking 
little part in politics. When, however, the 
struggle between Charles I. and the Long 

Lady Russell 3 

Parliament began, he took his place in the 
House of Lords, where he showed himself 
disposed to support the demands of the 
people, rather than the arbitrary acts and 
pretensions of the Crown and its Ministers. 
A true patriot, he wished the laws and 
customs of the nation to be respected, and 
the Parliament to have a part in the govern- 
ment of the country. Moderate in his 
religious views, he desired greater toleration 
and charity towards Dissenters. Although he 
did not regard freedom of opinion as a right, 
tyranny in affairs of conscience was re- 
pugnant to him. At the beginning of the 
Long Parliament, he frequently voted against 
the Crown, against the Bishops, and for 
the reform of abuses, and the restraint of 
despotism, both religious and political. He 
seldom appeared at Court, was looked upon 
as attached to the party in opposition to the 
Crown, and among those who surrounded 

4 Memoirs of 

the King was regarded as being, like his 
friend and relation the Earl of Essex, dis- 
contented and moody ; but when he saw 
the violence and injustice with which the 
proceedings of Parliament were conducted, 
the laws violated, and the Monarchy en- 
dangered by popular tumults under the 
leading of ambitious and unscrupulous men, 
he immediately took his place, not from 
inclination, but from a feeling of duty, among 
the defenders and servants of the King. 
Holding himself aloof from all party combina- 
tions, without any definite plan, troubling 
himself little with the reform of the Constitu- 
tion, or with abstract theories of government, 
he opposed the prevalent injustice, inequality, 
disorder, and violence, without concerning 
himself with the schemes of those who took 
part in them. The proceedings of Parliament 
against Lord Strafford appeared to him 
arbitrary, the penalty excessive ; and he 

Lady Russell 5 

defended him whom he had previously 
opposed. The Houses had voted that it 
was improper for members to take office 
under the Crown : he accepted, though un- 
willingly, that of Privy Councillor, and 
afterwards that of Lord of the Bed-chamber. 
He steadily supported the King against the 
violence of the popular party, as he had 
previously supported the claims of the people 
against the oppression of the Court. The 
Civil War broke out. He detested it, and 
looked for no good result, whichever side 
prevailed ; but immediately joined the royal 
army, was present at the battle of Edgehill, 
and followed the Court to Oxford, though 
every day more and more dissatisfied with 
its conduct. He retained all his independ- 
ence and his proud susceptibility. 

On one occasion in the Council he ex- 
pressed himself in strong language respect- 
ing the arrogant pretensions over the English 

6 Memoirs of 

nobility put forward by Prince Rupert. The 
Prince, to whom an exaggerated report had 
been made of what had passed, asked him 
if it were true. The Earl acknowledged 
what he had said, repeating the exact words. 
Rupert persisted in finding them offensive, 
and caused him to be informed that he 
expected to receive satisfaction for them, and 
to meet him on horseback sword in hand. 
They met next morning. 

" What arms do you choose ? " said the 

" I have no suitable horse here," said the 
Earl. " I could not obtain one immediately. 
Moreover, I am too small and too weak to 
compete with Your Highness in this manner. 
I must beg you to excuse me, and to allow 
me to choose arms of which I can make use. 
I will fight on foot, and with pistols." 

Rupert agreed without hesitation. The 
seconds were appointed, and the meeting was 

Lady Russell 7 

fixed for the next day ; but the affair had 
become public ; the Lords of the Council 
interfered, caused the gates of the town 
to be closed, summoned the seconds, and 
reconciled the Earl and the Prince. 

When the war had ended, and the King 
was in the hands of the Parliament, Lord 
Southampton made every possible effort for 
his deliverance, and sought diligently for the 
means of seeing and of assisting him. When 
all had failed, and the trial, condemnation, 
and execution of Charles left nothing to 
attempt or to hope, he did not consider him- 
self released from his duty towards his royal 
master. On the 8th of February 1 649, the day 
when the remains of Charles I. were buried 
at Windsor, Lord Southampton was one of 
five who accompanied to the tomb the Prince 
whom he had been unable either to enlighten 
or to save. Snow was falling thickly, 
and the black velvet pall which covered 

8 Memoirs of 

the coffin was completely whitened ; which 
the faithful servants of the King afterwards 
delighted to recall, as a symbol of innocence. 
Royalty having been abolished, Lord 
Southampton returned to his retirement at 
Titchfield, and throughout the duration of 
the Republic and the Protectorate of Crom- 
well he employed himself with his family, 
and in the improvement of his estate, taking 
no part in public affairs, remaining always 
faithful to the proscribed Charles II., send- 
ing him useful intelligence, and frequent 
and liberal supplies of money, but joining 
neither in the attempted insurrections of the 
Royalists nor in the movements of discon- 
tented Republicans. His good sense, his 
jealous patriotism, and his natural indolence 
combined to keep him in this honourable 
inactivity. He was one day informed that 
Cromwell, who was on a visit in Hampshire, 
on the occasion of the marriage of his son 

Lady Russell 9 

Richard, had shown some intention of sur- 
prising him by a visit. Lord Southampton 
immediately left his house, and did not re- 
turn until Cromwell had quitted the county. 

On the Restoration, Lord Southampton, 
notwithstanding his inactivity during the 
interregnum, was among the first of the 
nobles and former councillors of Charles I. 
whom Royalist feeling called to office. 
Hyde, who then possessed the King's con- 
fidence, was his particular friend. He was 
made Lord Treasurer when Hyde became 
Chancellor and Earl of Clarendon ; and for 
seven years he performed the duties of the 
office with a vigilance, integrity, and dis- 
interestedness not always agreeable to the 
monarch and his profligate Court. The two 
friends, united in principle though different 
in character, controlled with difficulty a King 
without virtue or feeling, a corrupt and in- 
triguing Court, a victorious but discontented 

io Memoirs of 

Party, and a people austere, humiliated, and 
wrathful. Clarendon, ambitious, laborious, 
enthusiastic for his Church, his cause, his 
power, and his rank, struggled violently 
against his enemies, old and new, and 
against the decline of his influence with his 
former pupil, now become his Sovereign. 
Southampton, less energetic, fond of leisure 
and repose, with greater liberality of mind, 
tormented, moreover, by gout and stone, 1 
conscientiously performed the duties of his 
office. He made ineffectual efforts towards 
having the resources of the Crown adminis- 
tered in order and good faith, and, frequently 
desponding, disgusted and ill, made known, 
to the great chagrin of Clarendon, his wish 
to quit an office which he filled without 
pleasure and without success. 

Charles, as clear - sighted as he was 

1 Burnet says he bore his sufferings " with astonishing patience, 
the firmness of a great man, and the submission of a good 

Lady Russell n 

corrupt, soon perceived that Lord South- 
ampton was indifferent to power, and wished 
to take advantage of this feeling in order to 
get rid quietly of an independent and unwel- 
come councillor ; but Clarendon employed 
all the influence he still retained to keep his 
friend in office ; and Lord Southampton, 
Treasurer till his death, quitted life and 
public business together, without yielding, 
like the Chancellor, to the unjust hatred of 
the people, or to the ungrateful severity of 
the King. 

Lord Southampton had married Rachel 
de Ruvigny, a member of one of those 
noble French families who in the sixteenth 
century, without any view to personal 
interest, or any thought of increase in power 
or wealth, from the mere dictates of faith 
and conscience, embraced the cause of the 
Reformation, which was at all times feeble 
in France, and from its infancy subject to 

12 Memoirs of 

persecution. At the time of their marriage 
the Edict of Nantes was still in force. 
Richelieu, although he had destroyed the 
political power of the Protestants, did not 
interfere with their religious rights, and did 
not hesitate to employ in various public 
offices those who showed themselves devoted 
to the interests of the Crown and to himself. 
Mazarin followed Richelieu's example. He 
was equally prudent as to the religious liberty 
of Protestants, but more cautious as to their 
employment in affairs of state. Though 
unmolested and enjoying the liberty allowed 
by the Edict, the Protestants, in a minority 
and subjection, daily lost in the strength 
that is derived from real activity, which 
alone gives importance in public opinion 
and secures freedom. Their places of 
worship were still open ; they were not 
driven from their country ; but they were 
restricted to private life, isolated, and, as it 

Lady Russell 13 

were, foreigners. The Marquess de Ruvigny, 
brother of Lady Southampton, possessed 
great ability and courage, and was one of 
the most important and intelligent among 
the Protestants of that period. During the 
disturbances of the Fronde, he gave Anne 
of Austria and Mazarin proofs of fidelity, 
constant, active, and important. When the 
Fronde was suppressed, Mazarin, wishing to 
reward Ruvigny, caused him to be appointed 
Deputy -General of the National Synod of 
the French Reformed Churches, a double 
and intermediary office, which made him 
the chargt d'affaires of the King towards 
the Protestants and of the Protestants 
towards the King. Ruvigny performed this 
double duty for nearly thirty years, with a 
well-governed zeal, often disagreeable, and 
even suspected by both parties, but equally 
faithful to the King and to the Church, and 
giving himself little disquiet as to either 

14 Memoirs of 

being pleased, provided he managed to pre- 
serve peace between them and to maintain 
their respective rights. This, however, did 
not afford a sufficient object in life. Wishing 
to have a pursuit, he attempted to obtain 
employment, either in the army or in diplo- 
macy abroad ; but was given to understand 
that he would find everything of that kind 
unattainable unless he changed his religion. 
The King and the Church made use of him 
with the Protestants, he being the only person 
capable of treating with them ; but all other 
openings were closed to him. After the 
death of Mazarin, and the restoration of the 
Stewarts, Ruvigny's many connections in 
England, his intimate relations with the 
Southampton and Bedford families, and 
with others of importance both in the Court 
Party and in the Opposition, obtained for 
him without any effort on his part what he 
had previously sought in vain. He was 

Lady Russell 15 

repeatedly employed in the most confidential 
negotiations between the courts of Paris and 
London, endeavouring sometimes to arrange 
the secret agreements of the two Kings, 
sometimes to secure the secret influence of 
Louis XIV. over the most active leaders of 
the Opposition in Parliament. Louis had a 
sincere esteem for him, and Charles showed 
him special favour. Writing to his sister the 
Duchess of Orleans, he said that France had 
never shown itself so friendly as since he had 
resided in London. Loving his country, a 
devoted Royalist, and a sincere Protestant, 
Ruvigny made great endeavours to serve at 
the same time his King, his country, and his 
faith, yet without deceiving himself as to the 
probability of this difficult conciliation being 
long maintained. The Edict of Nantes still 
stood, but like a deserted and ruined build- 
ing which needs only the blow of a hammer 
to bring it down. Under the pressure of 

1 6 Memoirs of 

a general feeling among the Catholics of 
France, and the urgent desires of the clergy, 
wishing, also, to carry out the false and 
fatal idea that power has rights over con- 
science and that the unity of the State requires 
unity of faith, Louis XIV., with a want of 
fidelity which he would not have allowed 
himself towards strangers, set at naught 
sometimes secretly, sometimes publicly the 
royal promises and the legal guarantees 
which had been given by his ancestors to 
a part of his subjects. The Marquess de 
Ruvigny, whilst serving the King, was not 
blind to the end towards which His Majesty 
was proceeding. Resolved, when the final 
issue approached, to sacrifice everything 
rather than his faith, he had secured letters 
of naturalisation in England for himself and 
his children. In January 1680, he wrote to 
his niece, Lady Russell : 

" I send you my letters of naturalisation, 

Lady Russell 17 

which will be better in your hands than in 
mine. I would beg you and your sister to 
take care of them for me. They may be 
useful, since there is nothing more uncertain 
than the course of events." 

Affairs did not remain uncertain long. 
Five years afterwards the Edict of Nantes 
was formally revoked ; and Ruvigny obtained 
with great difficulty, as the reward of his 
services, and from the personal favour of 
Louis XIV., the privilege of becoming with 
his family exiled from his country without 
flight he was the only nobleman to whom 
this favour was granted. Some years after- 
wards, in 1711, the King bestowed upon the 
Abbe de Polignac the confiscated property 
of his son, Henry de Ruvigny, who had 
entered the service of William III. and had 
been made Lord Galway. 

The revocation of the Edict of Nantes, 
in addition to its general effects upon the 

1 8 Memoirs of Lady Russell 

population and the wealth of the country, 
cost France the services of three excellent 
officers : Marshal Schomberg in the army, 
Admiral Duquesne in the navy, and the 
Marquess de Ruvigny in diplomacy. 


LADY SOUTHAMPTON had five children, only 
two of whom survived her. The younger 
of them, born in 1636, was named Rachel, 
after her mother. Descended from two 
noble families, educated in habits of piety 
and virtue, she received from the events of 
her youth those strong moral impressions 
which elevate minds that are not oppressed 
by them. She early learned to feel for the 
misfortunes of others, and to bear domestic 
trials with patience. When she was an 
infant she had lost her mother. Lord 
Southampton married again ; 1 but he never 

1 Lord Southampton was married three times. His second wife, 
the daughter of Sir Francis Leigh, afterwards Earl of Chichester, 
had four daughters, one of whom survived her parents, and was 

20 Memoirs of 

ceased to entertain the most tender affection 
for the two daughters whom his first 
wife had left him, nor did Rachel re- 
spect or love her father the less. She 
saw him devote himself without the least 
illusion or servility of mind to that political 
cause which, all things considered, he 
believed to have most justice on its side, 
and remain at the same time both patriot 
and Royalist. The . principles of integrity, 
liberality, and piety, which were character- 
istics of his own mind, were instilled by 
precept and example into the minds of his 
daughters. His religion was not merely a 
system of forms and ceremonies. As is 
evident from Burnet's testimony already 

married to the last Earl of Northumberland of the Percy family, 
and after his death to Mr. (afterwards Lord) Montagu. She is 
often mentioned in Lady Russell's letters as Countess of North- 
umberland, and as Lady Montagu. The Earl's third wife was 
Frances, daughter of the Duke of Somerset, and widow of Viscount 
Molineux. She long survived Lord Southampton, and afterwards 
married Mr. D'Arcy, who also is mentioned in Lady Russell's 

Lady Russell 2 i 

quoted, it was a communion of his soul 
with his heavenly Father, through the 
Saviour. At the period when she passed 
from childhood to youth, she lived in the 
country, far from the world, familiarised 
with those habits of quiet dignity, simplicity, 
polite manners, and general benevolence 
which do honour to a Christian aristocracy. 
We have not much information respecting 
her education ; but there is no reason to 
suppose that it was inferior to that of other 
ladies in her rank of life. Her letters show 
a well-trained mind ; and her having been 
the only governess of her two daughters, 
afterwards the Duchesses of Devonshire 
and Rutland, would indicate that her own 
education had not been neglected. Among 
her early instructors may be reckoned 
Dr. Fitzwilliam, who was for many years 
chaplain to her father, and afterwards to 
the Duke of York, and took an almost 

22 Memoirs of 

parental interest in her, as is evident from 
the letters on both sides which have been 

In 1653, at the age of seventeen, she 
was handsome, pious, and cheerful, without 
highly - wrought imaginations, disposed to 
enjoy life quietly, receiving good things as 
favours, and evils as lessons, from God. 
A marriage with Lord Vaughan, the elder 
son of Lord Carbery, was concluded by 
an arrangement between their respective 
parents, while yet they were scarce ac- 
quainted with one another. It was one of 
those marriages in which, as she afterwards 
said when speaking of that of one of her 
friends, " it is acceptance rather than choos- 
ing on either side." She went to live at the 
residence of her father-in-law, Golden Grove, 
in Wales, and fulfilled all the duties of her 
new situation without effort, and without 
display, inspiring those about her with a 

Lady Russell 23 

lively affection, but producing no other 
impression than that of constant virtue, an 
agreeable temper, and especially of such 
perfect amiability that it was spoken of to 
herself as a peculiar merit, her correspondent, 
after a high-flown compliment, concluding: 
" Present your noble husband with my most 
affectionate service, and I shall in my prayers 
present you both to God, begging of Him 
daily increase of your piety to Him, and of 
your love to each other. " ! 

Little is known of the character of Lord 
Vaughan ; but it may be presumed that an 
affectionate father, as Lord Southampton 
evidently was, would not arrange an alliance 
for his daughter with one who was likely to 
endanger her happiness. That her conduct 
was such as to obtain the approbation of her 

1 Lord Carbery was the protector of Jeremy Taylor, whose 
Holy Living and Dying was dedicated to him ; another of 
Taylor's works, Golden Grove, is named after Lord Carbery's 

24 Memoirs of 

husband's family is shown by her having 
continued on friendly terms with them all her 
life, and by her having exerted her influence 
in their favour many years after his death. 

Fourteen years thus passed with Lady 
Vaughan, calmly and virtuously happy. 
From an unfinished paper found after her 
death, it would' appear that this time of her 
life was characterised by greater intercourse 
and conformity with the world than she 
allowed herself at any other period. She re- 
grets her coldness and formality in religious 
duties, and her too great liking for plays and 
other diversions. This, however, probably 
arose, not from her having indulged in frivo- 
lous pursuits to excess, but from her having 
attained a more lively sense of the import- 
ance of religion during her residence with 
her elder sister in her first widowhood, and 
from habits of reflection formed during her 
seclusion after Lord Russell's death. 

Lady Russell 25 

In 1665 she bore a child, which died 
almost immediately. In 1667 she was a 
widow. No details of the death of her 
husband are recorded ; but the plague raged 
in London in 1665-66, extending to many 
places in the country ; and probably he was 
one of its victims. She then lived with her 
sister, Lady Elizabeth Noel, 1 at Titchfield, 
the house of her father, in which she had 
passed her childhood. Lord Southampton 
died in 1667, leaving Titchfield to Lady 
Elizabeth Noel, and Stratton, also in Hamp- 
shire, to Lady Vaughan. His property in 
London was divided between the two sisters, 
his youngest daughter being provided for 
by her mother's fortune. 

About the time of Lord Southampton's 
death a young man, three years the junior 
of Lady Vaughan, the second surviving son 

1 For more than a century after her death, which occurred about 
1679 or 1680, traditions of the piety and the charity of Lady 
Elizabeth Noel were preserved among the cottagers at Titchfield. 

26 Memoirs of 

of the Earl of Bedford, 1 began to take part in 
public life, but not as yet very prominently. 
After travelling on the Continent for three 
years, he had returned to England a short 
time before the Restoration, and had been 
elected a member of the House of Commons 
which recalled Charles II. Few traces of 
his life and character at this period remain. 
A note to him from his tutor, Mr. Thornton, 
shows that religion had not been neglected 

1 The family of the Russells first appears in public life in the 
reign of Henry VII. In the year 1506 the King and Queen of 
Castile left the Low Countries for Spain. Their fleet was dispersed in 
the Channel by a violent storm, and the ship in which they were with 
difficulty ran into Weymouth. As soon as they were landed, Sir 
Thomas Trenchard, the High Sheriff of the county, paid his respects 
and invited them to his house at Wolveton. As he was not 
acquainted with the Spanish language, he applied to Mr. Russell, 
who lived at a short distance, to come and interpret for them. 
Henry VII. having sent the Earl of Arundel to invite Philip to 
Windsor, the latter, on leaving, asked Sir Thomas if he could do 
anything for him with the King. Sir Thomas answered that he 
was not himself in want of anything, but that if Philip could do 
anything for Mr. Russell, he should take it as done to himself. 
Philip, accordingly, took Mr. Russell with him, and warmly 
recommended him to the King. Henry VII. created him Lord 
Russell, and named him one of his executors ; and he was after- 
wards made Earl of Bedford by Edward VI. 

Lady Russell 27 

in his upbringing, and one from him to 
Mr. Thornton, after a severe illness, indicates 
that it had not been altogether without 
effect. He says : 

" My prayers to God are to give me, to- 
gether with my health, grace to employ it in 
His service, and to make good use of this 
visitation by the serious application of it." 

His religious impressions do not, how- 
ever, appear to have been very decided 
until later. The manners of the times, the 
example of the Court, the heat of youth, 
and perhaps also his natural temper, led him 
into some irregularities of conduct ; and he 
was engaged in more than one duel. This 
did not long continue. 1 His conduct became 

1 Bishop Burnet says of him : " He was a man of great candour, 
and of a general reputation ; universally beloved and trusted ; of a 
generous, obliging temper. He gave proof of undaunted courage, 
and of an unshaken firmness. He quickly got out of some disorders 
into which the Court had drawn him, and ever after that his life was 
unblemished in all respects. He had from his first education an 
inclination to favour the Nonconformists, and wished the laws 

28 Memoirs of 

more in accord with the pious instructions 
he had received, and it is not improbable 
that Lady Vaughan exercised an unconscious 
influence in the correction of the irregulari- 
ties in the life of the young man to whom 
she was afterwards united. Of all human 
motives, there is none which has so much 
power as a virtuous attachment. There is 
no account of their early acquaintance. We 
only know, by a letter of Lady Percy, Lady 
Vaughan's half-sister, that he was attached to 
the handsome widow in 1667. She says : 

" For his concern, I can say nothing more 
than that he professes a great desire, which 
I do not at all doubt he, and everybody else 
has, to gain one who is so desirable in all 

could have been made more easy to them, or they more pliant to 
the law. He was a slow man, and of little discourse ; but he had 
a true judgment. When he considered things at his own leisure, 
his understanding was not defective ; but his virtues were so 
eminent that they would more than have balanced real defects, if 
any had been found." 

Lady Russell 29 

Lady Vaughan was without children, and 
was a great heiress. William Russell, a 
younger son, had neither fortune nor a title 
to offer. He was the more timid and re- 
served on that account. But there was too 
much sympathy in their natural dispositions 
for worldly considerations and doubts to keep 
them long apart. They were married about 
the end of the year 1669 ; but, according to 
the usual custom in England at that time, 
Lady Vaughan retained her title till 1678, 
when, the elder brother of Mr. Russell 
having died, he became heir to his father, 
and assumed the title of Lord Russell. 


ONE of the most charming sights in the 
world is a married pair united by a true 
affection based on congeniality of sentiment 
and principle. Passion, the open and gener- 
ous expression of the feelings and inmost 
capacities of the soul, has such attraction for 
us, that we take pleasure in regarding its 
manifestation, even when accompanied with 
disorder, mistakes, troubles, and sorrows ; 
but passion in harmony with principle, and 
filling the heart with a flood of happiness, 
without overclouding the mind or interrupt- 
ing its peace, is the most active emotion of 
our being, and possesses the greatest interest 
to those who behold it. The union of 

Memoirs of Lady Russell 31 

Rachel Wriothesley and William Russell 
was of this rare character. Hitherto she 
had been tranquil, simple, calmly pursuing 
the ordinary paths of life. Now passionate 
affection and the highest earthly happiness 
filled her heart. She gave herself up to 
their influence, and manifested them without 
reserve : she ardently loved her husband, 
and was entirely happy. They were seldom 
separated, and only for short periods, during 
the fourteen years of their married life. 
Consequently, but few of their letters remain. 
Those which we have present, on both sides, 
a pleasing picture of conjugal confidence and 
domestic happiness. It is evident that they 
found their chief pleasure in the faithful 
discharge of their duties to each other, and 
in promoting the welfare and the happiness 
of those around them. 

" If I were more fortunate," she writes, 
three years after their marriage, "in my 

32 Memoirs of 

expression, I could do myself more right 
when I would own to my dearest Mr. Russell 
what real and perfect happiness I enjoy, from 
that kindness he allows me every day to 
receive new marks of, such as, in spite of the 
knowledge I have of my own wants, will not 
suffer me to mistrust I want his love, though 
I do merit, to so desirable a blessing ; but, 
my best life, you that know so well how to 
love and to oblige, make my felicity entire, 
by believing my heart possessed with all the 
gratitude, honour, and passionate affection to 
your person, any creature is capable of, or 
can be obliged to." 

Three years later she says : 

"It is an inexpressible joy to consider, I 
shall see the person in the world I most and 
only long to be with, before another week is 
past. I should condemn my sense of this 
expected happiness as weak and pitiful if I 
could tell it you. No, my best life : I can say 

Lady Russell 33 

little, but think all you can, and you cannot 
think too much ; my heart makes it all good. 
I perfectly know my infinite obligations to 
Mr. Russell ; and it is the delight of her life, 
who is as much yours as you desire she 
should be." 

Again, five years afterwards : 

" My dearest heart, flesh and blood cannot 
have a truer and greater sense of their own 
happiness than your poor but honest wife 
has. I am glad you find Stratton so sweet ; 
may you live to do so one fifty years more ; 
and if God pleases, I shall be glad I may 
keep your company most of those years, 
unless you wish for other at any time ; 
then I think I could willingly leave all in the 
world, knowing you would take care of our 
brats ; they are both well, and your great 
one's letter she hopes came to you." 

Again : " These are pleasing moments, in 
absence, my dearest blessing, either to read 

34 Memoirs of 

something from you, or to be writing some- 
thing to you ; yet I never do it but I am 
touched with a sensible regret that I cannot 
pour out in words what my heart is so big 
with, which is much more just to your dear 
self (in a passionate return of love and 
gratitude) than I can tell you ; but it is not 
my talent, and so I hope not a necessary 
signification of the truth of it : at least not 
thought so by you." 

A year later : " To see anybody preparing, 
and taking their way to see what I long to 
do a thousand times more than they, makes 
me not endure to suffer their going, without 
saying something to my best life ; though it 
is a kind of anticipating my joy when we 
shall meet, to allow myself so much, before 
the time ; but I confess I feel a great deal, 
that, though I left London with great 
reluctance (as it is easy to persuade men a 
woman does), yet that I am not like to leave 

Lady Russell 35 

Stratton with greater. ... I would fain be 
telling my heart more things anything, to 
be in a kind of talk with him ; but, I believe, 
Spencer stays for my despatch ; he was 
willing to go early ; but this was to be the 
delight of this morning and the support of 
the day. It is performed in bed, thy pillow 
at my back ; where thy dear head shall lie, I 
hope, to-morrow night, and many more, I 
trust in His mercy, notwithstanding all our 
enemies or ill-wishers. Love and be willing 
to be loved by R. RUSSELL." 

Lady Russell did not express her love 
to her husband merely in writing. She 
showed it actively, in the smallest, as well 
as in the greatest, things : taking interest 
in all his occupations, in all his tastes ; 
living with him in the world when he would 
mix with the world, in the country when 
he preferred the country ; caring for his 
amusements, as well as for his happiness. 

36 Memoirs of 

When they were separated the one at 
Stratton, the other in London she kept 
herself informed on political and fashionable 
affairs, the affairs of their friends, and the 
incidents of society, and communicated them 
to him speedily, without study of expression, 
or attempt to show herself off, but as one 
simply desirous of collecting all that could 
interest or divert him. In May 1672 she 
writes : 

" I am very sure my dearest Mr. Russell 
meant to oblige me extremely when he 
enjoined me to scribble to him by the post, 
as knowing he could not do a kinder thing 
than to let me see he designed not to think 
me impertinent in it ; though we parted but 
this morning, which I might reasonably have 
doubted to have been when I have passed 
all this long day and learned nothing new 
can entertain you and your good company. 
All I see either are or appear duller to me 

Lady Russell 37 

than when you are here ; and I do not find 
the town is enlivened by the victory we have 
obtained. There is no more talked of than 
you heard last night, nor nothing printed, 
because there is no letters come yet; Tom 
Howard, Lord Howard's son, is expected 
every hour with them. Many whisper the 
French behaved themselves not like firm 
friends. The Duke of York's marriage is 
broke off. That, or other causes, makes him 
look less in good humour than ordinary. 
They say she is offered the King of Spain ; 
and our Prince shall have D'Elbceuf. 
Mrs. Ogle is to marry Craven Howard, 
Tom Howard's son ; and Tom Wharton 
has another mistress in chase, my Lady 
Rochester's grandchild ; but he is so un- 
fortunate before the end, that it is mistrusted 
he may miss her, though the grandmother 
is his great friend. Young Arundel, my 
Lord Arundel of Trerice his son, is extremely 

38 Memoirs of 

in love, and went down where she is, and 
watched her coming abroad to take the air, 
rode up to her coach. Mr. Wharton was on 
horse by the roadside. Arundel thrust him 
away, and, looking into the coach, told her 
no man durst say he valued her at the rate 
he did. Mr. Wharton, like a good Christian, 
turned the other cheek ; for he took no 
notice of it ; but the other, having no op- 
portunity to see or speak to her, was thus 
forced to return ; but Wharton is admitted 
to the house." 

Besides the love for her husband, an- 
other affection animated Lady Russell and 
strengthened her beforehand for her day of 
trial. She was a Christian, not in name 
only, but also in mind and heart, with an 
entire belief in Christian truth, submissive 
to Christian precepts, without sectarianism, 
without taste for disputation, moved by an 
intelligent and exalted charity towards those 

Lady Russell 39 

who did not think exactly as she thought. 
Her letters after the blow had fallen show in 
what uncommon harmony Christian feeling 
and human affection were united in her. She 
had the power of faith in her soul in the 
midst of her happiness, and, while she was 
still in the enjoyment of it, prepared herself 
with humility to accept from the hand of God 
the strokes, or rather the stroke, of which 
she seems to have had some presentiment. 
In 1680 she wrote : 

" Absent or present, my dearest life is 
equally obliging, and ever the earthly delight 
of my soul ; it is my great care (or ought to 
be) so to moderate my sense of happiness 
here, that when the appointed time comes of 
my leaving it, or its leaving me, I may not be 
unwilling to forsake the one, or be in some 
measure prepared and fit to bear the trial of 
the other. What have I to ask but a 
continuance (if God see fit) of these present 

40 Memoirs of 

enjoyments ? If not, a submission without 
murmur to His most wise dispensations and 
unerring providence, having a thankful heart 
for the years I have been so perfectly 
contented in ; He knows best when we have 
had enough here ; what I most earnestly beg 
from His mercy is, that we both live so as, 
whichever goes first, the other may not 
sorrow as for one of whom they have no 
hope. Then let us cheerfully expect to be 
together to a good old age ; if not, let us not 
doubt but He will support us under what 
trial He will inflict upon us. These are 
necessary meditations sometimes, that we 
may not be surprised above our strength 
by a sudden accident, being unprepared. 
Excuse me, if I dwell too long upon it ; it is 
from my opinion that if we can be prepared 
for all conditions, we can with the greater 
tranquillity enjoy the present, which I hope 
will be long ; though when we change, it will 

Lady Russell 41 

be for the better, I trust, through the merits 
of Christ. Let us daily pray that it may be 
so, and then admit of no fears : death is the 
extremest evil against nature, it is true ; let 
us overcome the immoderate fear of it, either 
to our friend or self, and then what light 
hearts we may live with." 

Ten years elapsed since Lady Russell in 
London had written these words to her 
husband at Stratton. Lord Russell was in 
London, and his wife at Stratton, when, on 
September 25, 1682, she wrote : 

" I know nothing new since you went ; 
but I know as certainly as I live, that I have 
been for twelve years as passionate a lover 
as ever woman was, and hope to be so one 
twelve years more ; happy still and entirely 
yours, R. RUSSELL." 

Lady Russell's attachments were not 
hastily formed ; but they were lasting. She 
was susceptible of conjugal and maternal 

42 Memoirs of 

affection in no ordinary degree. Almost 
every letter after the birth of her children 
contains some reference to them. She was 
also a kind and considerate mistress, not 
merely satisfying herself with ordering that 
medical advice should be provided for a sick 
servant ; but herself making inquiry of the 
physician as to the state of his patient, and 
reporting the result to her husband. 

Scarcely ten months had passed since 
Lady Russell wrote the letter, so full of 
affection, happiness, and trust, from which 
the last extract was taken, when the light- 
ning fell in the midst of a sky so calm and 
peaceful. Lord Russell was a prisoner in 
the Tower, and was charged with high 
treason at the bar of the Old Bailey 
Sessions. He had sat in the House of 
Commons for several years, without taking 
much part, or much interest, in the debates. 
He was young, and led into other courses by 

Lady Russell 43 

the ardour of youth. He was a man, not of 
showy talents, but of high-toned principle 
and unshrinking firmness ; and " in all prob- 
ability he would have continued through life 
an inactive representative had not extra- 
ordinary events called forth the native energy 
of his character, never afterwards to sleep, 
but on the scaffold." 1 

1 Memoir of William, Lord Russell, by Lord John Russell. 


THE hopes which had been raised in 
England by the Restoration were slowly 
dissipated. Recollections of the Common- 
wealth and the Protectorate, and the reaction 
against the maxims, the acts, and the agents 
of those times, filled all minds. Charles II. 
and his Court, with licentious self-indulgence, 
took advantage of these strong feelings, till 
their pretensions, their faults, their vices, 
excited fresh disputes and roused men's 
passions anew. A life insulting to the moral 
as well as to the political feelings of the 
people had shaken their love for the 
Sovereign not a little. But " an attachment 
to foreign interests, and the profession of an 

Memoirs of Lady Russell 45 

.odious religion, had excited the strongest 
aversion to the presumptive successor to the 
Throne." 1 The old Royalists, the men who 
had fought for Charles I. and resisted 
Cromwell, had disappeared. New men, and, 
under their leading, new parties, appeared 
on the scene : the Party of the Crown and 
the Party of the Country, afterwards the 
Tories and the Whigs, descendants of the 
Cavaliers and Roundheads, but greatly trans- 
formed. Parliament had become the arena 
and the indispensable instrument of politics. 
The Royalist Long Parliament carried on, 
while they detested, the work of the Revolu- 
tionary Long Parliament. The restored 
Monarchy triumphed by means of the same 
arms which had struck it down. The King 
governed the country by Parliament, and the 
Parliament, by its own leaders, became the 
adviser of the Crown. 

1 Memoir of William^ Lord Russell. 

46 Memoirs of 

It was not till some little time after 
Russell's marriage to Lady Vaughan that he 
began to take a prominent position in the 
Country Party. His first speech was in 
1674. With generous feelings, an elevated 
but not very comprehensive mind, and little 
foresight, of a character more obstinate than 
strong, and disposed to allow himself to be 
easily led, or governed, or deceived, in the 
course to which his inclination disposed him, 
he soon became one of the most fervent 
opponents of the Court, and the ornament, 
if not the chief leader, of the Country Party. 
The principles which he adopted and the 
measures which he brought forward or 
supported would necessarily bring on him 
the resentment of those whose corruption he 
resisted. Always ready to risk danger in 
behalf of his cause, he undertook the 
defence in the House of Commons, and 
often the initiative, of the strongest measures 

Lady Russell 47 

of the Opposition among others, the Bill 
by which it was proposed to exclude the 
Duke of York from the succession, as being 
a Papist. He had the merit with his Party 
and in the nation of almost always sharing 
their prejudices, their passions, their mis- 
takes ; agreeing with them in judgment and 
in feeling, superior to them all by his virtues. 
Thus he soon became the man who was 
most popular and most honoured in the 
Kingdom, and such was the mutual agree- 
ment and sympathy between him and the 
National Party that nothing occurred to 
enlighten Lord Russell as to his failings, or 
those of his friends for the only warnings 
of them came from his opponents, and such 
warnings are never much regarded. 

Lady Russell, whilst she sympathised with 
her husband's principles, both political and 
religious, and honoured him for his stead- 
fast adherence to them, was not blind to the 

48 Memoirs of 

danger he incurred ; and, from doubts as to 
the propriety of some of the measures he 
proposed, or disquieted as to their probable 
consequence, sometimes gave him cautions 
on the subject with a frankness equally 
tender and firm. In 1681 she concludes a 
letter thus : 

" One remembrance more, my best life. 
Be wise as a serpent, harmless as a dove. 
So farewell for this time." 

On another occasion she says : 

" Look to your pockets ; a printed paper 
says you will have fine papers put into them, 
and then witnesses to swear." 

Like himself, she was anxiously and 
patriotically occupied with the future of her 
country ; but her judgment was more un- 
trammelled, less prejudiced, more far-sighted. 
As early as March 1678, when Lord Russell 
was about to support a measure of bitter 
opposition in the House of Commons, he 

Lady Russell 49 

received a note from her during the 
sitting : 

" My sister, being here, tells me she over- 
heard you tell her Lord last night, that you 
would take notice of the business (you know 
what I mean) in the House ; this alarms me, 
and I do earnestly beg of you to tell me 
truly if you have or mean to do it ; if you do, 
I am most assured you will repent it. I beg 
once more to know the truth. It is more 
pain to be in doubt, and to your sister too ; 
and if I have any interest, I use it to beg 
your silence in this case, at least to-day. 


It is not necessary to read this letter a 
second time in order to be convinced that 
this was not the first occasion on which 
Lady Russell had used similar language. 
Her urgent request that he would tell her 
the truth implies a mild complaint that he 
had often concealed it from her, and a lively 

50 Memoirs of 

solicitude on account of what she could not 
be sure to prevent. Lord Russell was no 
doubt struck with the step she had taken ; 
for he carefully preserved the note, marking 
on it the time and the place where it was 
received. It is, however, probable that he 
did not follow her advice, either then or on 
other similar occasions. 

The time arrived when the King, though 
little inclined to a hazardous line of policy, 
and the Parliament, though monarchical 
and loyal, came to an open rupture. The 
National Party required Charles II. to dis- 
inherit his brother, and with his own hands 
to divert the succession from the direct line. 
Charles required the National Party, at all 
risks, to submit to a Prince who evidently 
desired to destroy the religion and the con- 
stitution of the country. Thus pushed to ex- 
tremes, each formed a resolution : the King 
to attempt tyranny ; the National Party, 

Lady Russell 51 

insurrection. At the critical moment, in 
1 68 1, when the last Parliament of Charles II. 
was dissolved, two men, Lord Shaftesbury 
and Lord Russell, were the leaders of the 
struggle. Shaftesbury was already old, am- 
bitious, indefatigable, and corrupt, practised 
from childhood in seeking and finding his 
fortune in intrigues and plots. His was a bold 
and flexible mind, sagacious and fertile, having 
great influence over men : he was equally 
able to serve or to injure, to please or to 
perplex, but attached by pride and foresight 
to the Protestant and National Party, which 
appeared to him the stronger, and certain 
ultimately to prevail. He was fully resolved 
amid any circumstances to save himself: to 
reap the fruit of his intrigues, or to renew 
them. Lord Russell was still young, sincere, 
ardent, inexperienced, firm in mind and 
heart, full of faith and honour, conscientious 
even in conspiring, ready to sacrifice his life 

52 Memoirs of 

in the cause, but incapable of indifference to 
success or of taking flight. Between these 
two men, engaged with such different feel- 
ings in the same enterprise, it was easy to 
foresee which would be the instrument in 
case of success, or the victim in case of 

The conspirators met from time to time, 
doubtful of each other and not revealing to 
each other the full extent of their projects. 
Lord Russell, with Algernon Sidney, was 
willing to organise a resistance to arbitrary 
power, and to exclude the Duke of York 
from the Throne, probably accepting in the 
depths of his soul, without avowing it even 
to himself, the consequences of such a revolu- 
tion. Lord Shaftesbury saw clearly into his 
design, and was prepared at all costs for the 
dethronement of the King and the appoint- 
ment of a successor other than the direct 
heir. There were others who desired to 

Lady Russell 53 

have a Republican Government, and, in pur- 
suit of their dream, were prepared for the 
deaths of the King and the Duke. There 
were among them also traitors, either bought 
by the Court or ready to give up the secret 
and sacrifice their associates in order to save 
themselves. One day, when they were as- 
sembled, Lord Russell saw enter, with Colonel 
Sidney and Hampden, Lord Howard of 
Escrick, a man whom he distrusted, who 
was afterwards one of the chief witnesses 
against him. He expressed to his friend 
Lord Essex his wish to withdraw ; but Lord 
Essex detained him, thinking better of Lord 
Howard, and little suspecting that he would 
be the instrument of the ruin of them both. 

Some days later, Lord Mordaunt, an 
ardent Royalist and far from being a con- 
spirator, although a friend of Lord Shaftes- 
bury, was with the Duchess of Portsmouth, 
the King's mistress, with whom he had 

54 Memoirs of 

formed a secret and close intimacy, in the 
hope of advancing his fortune. Suddenly 
the King's arrival was announced to the 
Duchess : His Majesty was on the stairs. 
The Duchess hastily concealed Lord Mor- 
daunt in an adjoining room. Curiosity led 
him to look through the keyhole. Lord 
Howard had come, and was conversing with 
the King, but in a voice so low that it could 
not be overheard. Released by the Duchess 
as soon as she herself was free, Mordaunt 
hastened out, took a coach, and went forth- 
with to Lord Shaftesbury, whom he informed 
of what he had witnessed. 

" Are you quite certain ? " asked the Earl, 
regarding him steadfastly. 

" Perfectly sure," said Mordaunt. 

"Well, my Lord, you are an honourable 
young man : you would not deceive me. If 
that is true, I must be off to-night." 

Lord Shaftesbury did leave his house that 

Lady Russell 55 

night, and concealed himself elsewhere in 
London, the order for his arrest was 
issued the following day, and some days 
afterwards he embarked at Harwich and 
took refuge in Holland, hoping to find an 
asylum there and an avenger in the Prince 
of Orange. As Chancellor, he had vehe- 
mently supported the war against Holland, 
and more than once had said, " Carthage 
must be destroyed." On arriving at Amster- 
dam, he applied to the Burgomaster for 
permission to reside there. " Carthage, not 
yet destroyed, willingly receives the Earl of 
Shaftesbury within her walls," the Burgo- 
master answered. 

At the same time that the order was 
given for the arrest of Lord Shaftesbury, a 
similar order had been issued for that of 
Lord Russell, and that he should be brought 
before the Council. The messenger who 
bore the order presented himself at the chief 

56 Memoirs of 

entrance of the house ; but that at the back 
was left free, probably by design. Lord 
Russell might have escaped ; but -he would 
not, saying that his flight would be a 
confession, and that he had done nothing 
which should make him fear the justice of 
his country. Nevertheless, he sent Lady 
Russell hastily to consult his chief friends, 
who, understanding that his accuser was a 
man named Rumsey, whom Lord Russell 
had never trusted whose testimony, there- 
fore, he did not fear agreed that he ought 
not to fly. 

He appeared before the King and 
Council. The King told him that he was 
not suspected of any design against him 
personally, but that there were strong proofs 
of his intentions against the Government. 
After a long examination, he was sent to 
the Tower. On entering, he said to his 
valet, Taunton, that there was a determina- 

Lady Russell 57 

tion against him, and that they would take 
his life. On Taunton's expressing a hope 
that his enemies would not succeed, " They 
will take it," repeated Lord Russell: " the 
devil is unchained." 

" From the moment of his arrest," says 
Burnet, "he looked upon himself as a dying 
man, and turned his thoughts wholly to 
another world. He read much in the Scrip- 
tures, particularly in the Psalms. But, 
whilst he behaved with the serenity of a 
man prepared for death, his friends ex- 
hibited an honourable anxiety to save his 
life. Lord Essex would not leave his house, 
lest his absconding might incline a jury to 
give more credit to the evidence against 
Lord Russell. The Duke of Monmouth 
offered to come in, and share fortunes with 
him, if he could do him any service. But 
he answered, ' it would be of no advantage 
to him to have his friends die with him.' 

58 Memoirs of 

We need not repeat the details of the 
trial. Our purpose is merely to describe 
the domestic life of Lord and Lady Russell, 
their feelings towards each other, under 
trials, as well as in happier times. As soon 
as her husband was arrested, Lady Russell 
rose equal to the emergency, and devoted 
herself to the measures for his assistance 
with an ardour and intelligence which called 
forth the admiration of all who observed it. 
During the fortnight which elapsed between 
his arrest and the sentence, she went, came, 
wrote, without ceasing, collected intelligence, 
raised the courage of alarmed friends, excited 
the interest of persons who were indifferent, 
seeking on all sides modes of active exertion, 
and for gleams of hope. She was, in the 
minds of all, so completely identified with 
Lord Russell that when he complained that 
the list of the jury had not been given to 
him beforehand, the Judge and the Attorney- 

Lady Russell 59 

General considered it sufficient to prove that 
Lady Russell had known their names. The 
night before his appearance in court, she 
wrote to him : 

"Your friends believe I can do you some 
service at your trial. I am extremely will- 
ing to try. My resolution will hold out ; 
pray let yours. But it may be the court 
will not let me. However, do you let me 
try. I think, however, to meet you at 
Richison's, and then resolve. Your brother 
Ned will be with me, and sister Margaret." 

The trial was on July 13, 1683. The 
court was crowded with spectators : the 
counsel complained that they had no room 
to sit down. Lord Russell asked for pen, 
ink, and paper, to take notes. They were 
given to him. "May I have somebody to 
help my memory?" he inquired. Permission 
to have a servant to write for him was 
given. " My wife," said he, " is here to do 

60 Memoirs of 

it " ; which being assented to, she took her 
place by his side, and continued her trying 
task through the day. 

When sentence was passed, neither the 
courage nor the activity of Lady Russell 
ceased. She was one of those whose minds 
are supported by love, duty, and trust in 
God, beyond human anticipation, strength, 
and hope. Efforts of all kinds were made 
to save Lord Russell's life. Some of the 
most important men about the Court pleaded 
strongly with the King in his behalf. His 
release, they said, would impose a debt of 
gratitude on a powerful family ; while, if 
their plea were rejected, the injury would 
never be forgotten. Moreover, some con- 
sideration was due to the daughter of 
Lord Southampton. From several quarters 
Lady Russell received intimations of steps 
which were being taken towards giving her 
an opportunity to throw herself at the feet 

Lady Russell 61 

of the King, who, it was thought, could not 
refuse her. The Duke of York as well as 
the King was appealed to. He listened 
quietly, and made no answer. The King 
impatiently said to Monmouth that he would 
have pardoned him, but then he must have 
broken with his brother. To Lord Dart- 
mouth he answered, "All that is true; but 
it is also true that if I do not take his 
life, he will have mine." Other means 
were employed. Lord Bedford offered the 
Duchess of Portsmouth fifty and even a 
hundred thousand pounds, to obtain a 
pardon ; but Charles answered that he 
would not sell his own blood, and that of 
his subjects, so cheaply. Lady Russell 
thought that her uncle, the Marquess de 
Ruvigny, might have some influence with 
Charles. The Marquess promised to come. 
Barillon, the French Ambassador, was in- 
structed to speak to Charles in behalf of 

62 Memoirs of 

Lord Russell ; but when he did so, the 
King said : " I am sure that the King, my 
brother, would not advise me to pardon a 
man who would have shown me no quarter. 
I will not hinder M. de Ruvigny from 
coming ; but Lord Russell will lose his head 
before he arrives. I owe this example for 
my own safety and the good of the State." 

Ruvigny did not come. At the urgent 
request of his father, his friends, and even 
of his wife, Lord Russell himself wrote to 
the King, and to the Duke of York, request- 
ing a pardon, declaring that he had never 
entertained any designs against the King's 
life, or even of overturning the Government, 
and promising to go to live on the Continent 
and to interfere no more in English affairs. 
It was without any expectation of success 
that he wrote these letters, and as he folded 
up that for the Duke he said to Dr. Burnet, 
" This will be printed and be selling about 

Lady Russell 63 

the streets as my submission when I am 

It was thought there might be one more 
chance perhaps the best, though singular 
and indirect. Men's minds were strongly 
agitated by the question as to the possible 
legitimacy or the absolute illegitimacy of any 
armed resistance to the legitimate Sovereign. 
Man always desires to have reason on his 
side, and cannot rest in the mere possession 
of power if he feels that truth and justice are 
against him. Consequently, both the Court 
Party and the National Party claimed to be 
established on a principle, and to govern by 
right, not by power merely. The English 
Church maintained, without limitation, the 
illegality of resistance by force. Two of her 
moderate and most upright divines, Burnet 
and Tillotson, attempted to obtain Lord 
Russell's adherence to their doctrine, hoping 
to save his life if they could assure the King 

64 Memoirs of 

on this point. At one time they thought 
they had prevailed, and Lord Halifax, whom 
they informed of the matter, told them that 
when he reported it to the King, His 
Majesty appeared to be more moved by this 
prospect than by all the other applications. 
They renewed their efforts. Lord Russell 
listened to them quietly. Tillotson wrote 
to him a letter arguing the maxim of non- 
resistance as an article of Christian truth. 
Lord Russell took the letter, retired into an 
adjoining room, and, returning, said that he 
should be glad to be convinced, but could 
not say he was. He had always held that a 
free nation had a right to defend its religion 
and its liberties when they were assailed. If 
he was in error, he hoped that God would 
forgive him, as it would be a sin of ignorance. 
Burnet still pressed the matter. Russell 
answered that he could not tell a lie, and he 
must if he went further. He had discussed 

Lady Russell 65 

the question with his wife, who, far from 
urging him to give way, had sorrowfully 
approved and supported him in his firmness. 
It is said that she even showed some dis- 
pleasure at Tillotson's urgency on the subject. 
All means were vain ; 1 all hopes suc- 
cessively died away ; the fatal day was at 
hand. "I wish," said Lord Russell, "that 
my wife would give over beating every bush 
for my preservation " ; but, considering that 
it would afterwards be a consolation to feel 
that she had done all that was in her power, 
he acquiesced. When they were together, 
they seemed to be each of them entirely 
occupied in strengthening and encouraging 

1 Lord Cavendish had nobly stood forward at the trial to 
vindicate Lord Russell's character, when it was deemed " almost 
as criminal to be a witness for him, as to have been an accomplice 
with him." After the sentence was passed, he offered to visit him 
in prison, change clothes with him, and remain in his place while 
he made his escape. Lord Russell, however, would not secure his 
own safety at the expense of his friend, nor injure the cause he had 
adopted by a course which would be construed as a confession of 


66 Memoirs of 

the other ; when she left, he followed her 
with his eyes ; his emotion seemed on the 
point of breaking forth ; he overcame it with 
difficulty, and gave himself up either alone, 
or with Burnet and Tillotson, to religious 
meditation, conversation, or reading. On 
July 19, being informed that the application 
for a respite till the following Monday had 
been rejected, and that the execution was 
fixed for the second day afterwards, he wrote 
a letter to the King which was not to be 
forwarded till after his death, in which he 
protested that he had always been devoted 
to what he believed to be the real interests of 
the Crown, and that if he had been mistaken 
he hoped that the King's displeasure would 
be satisfied by his death, and would not 
extend to his wife and children. On the 
following day, the 2Oth, he received the 
Sacrament from Tillotson. 

" Do you believe all the articles of the 

Lady Russell 67 

Christian faith as taught by the Church of 
England?" asked Tillotson. 

" Yes." 

" Do you forgive all your enemies ? " 

" With my whole heart." 

After dinner, he read over and signed the 
paper which he intended to give to the Sheriff 
on the scaffold, as his farewell to life and to 
the country, and gave Lady Russell his 
instructions as to its publication and distri- 
bution immediately after his death. Lady 
Russell brought his children to him. He 
kept them with him for some time, conversed 
with her as to their education, and their 
prospects, kissed and blessed them, without 
losing his composure. " Stay and sup with 
me," he said to his wife. " Let us eat our 
last earthly food together." During and 
after supper he spoke cheerfully on various 
subjects, especially about his two girls, and 
mentioned several instances of men who had 

68 Memoirs of 

met death with calmness and firm minds. 
Towards ten o'clock he rose, took Lady 
Russell by the hand, and kissed her four or 
five times ; both were silent and trembling, 
their eyes full of tears which did not over- 
flow. When she had left, " Now," said he 
to Burnet, " the bitterness of death is past " ; 
and, suddenly giving himself up to his 
feelings, " What a blessing she has been to 
me, and what a misery it would have been if 
she had been crying to me to turn informer 
and to be a Lord Howard ! " He said there 
was a signal providence of God in giving 
him such a wife, who brought rank, fortune, 
great understanding, great religion, and great 
kindness to him ; but her carriage in his 
extremity was beyond all. Then he spoke 
of his own situation, and remarked how great 
a change death made, and how wonderfully 
these new scenes would strike on a soul. 
He had heard how some that had been 

Lady Russell 69 

born blind were struck when, by the couching 
of their cataracts, they saw ; " but what," said 
he, "if the first thing they saw were the 
rising sun ? " 

In the morning, on his way to the place 
of execution, he sang to himself the iiQth 
Psalm ; and while preparing for the last 
blow he gave his watch to Burnet, saying, 
" I have done with time ; now eternity 
comes." One of his last commissions was 
a kind message to his father's chaplain, 
Mr. Kettlewell, who held in their fullest 
extent opinions the opposite of those for 
which he was about to die. 


LADY RUSSELL was now a widow, alone in 
her dwelling of Southampton House with 
her three children, two girls, one nine years 
of age and the other seven, and a boy of 
three, and it tends to excite some surprise 
that we find among the earliest of her 
letters, after so severe a blow, two addressed 
directly or indirectly to Charles II., who 
had just refused the life of her husband. 
Scarcely had she left London, whence she 
had retired with her children to her 
father-in-law the Earl of Bedford's seat at 
Woburn, when she wrote to her uncle, John 
Russell, Colonel of the ist Regiment of 
Guards : 

" Apologies, dear Uncle, are not necessary 

Memoirs of Lady Russell 71 

to you for anything I do, nor is my dis- 
composed mind fit to make any ; but I want 
your assistance, so I ask it freely. You may 
remember, Sir, that a very few days after 
my great and terrible calamity, the King 
sent me word he meant to take no advantage 
of anything that was forfeited to him, but 
terms of law must be observed ; so, now the 
grant for the personal estate is done and in 
my hands, I esteem it fit to make some com- 
pliment of acknowledgment to His Majesty; 
to do this for me is the favour I beg of you ; 
but I have writ the enclosed paper in such a 
manner that if you judge it fit, you may, as 
you see cause, show it to the King, to let 
him see what thanks I desire should be made 
to him ; but that is left to you to do as you 

" Truly, Uncle, 'tis not without reluctancy 
I write to you myself, since nothing that is 
not very sad can come from me, and I do not 

72 Memoirs of 

love to trouble such as, I am sure, wish me 
none. I ask after your health, and when I 
hear you are well, it is part of the only 
satisfaction I can have in this wretched 
world, where the love and company of the 
friends and nearest relations of that dear and 
blessed person must give me all I can find 
in it now ; it is a great change from as much 
happiness as I believe this world can ever 
give, to know no more, as never must, 
Yours, R. RUSSELL." 

Soon a rumour from Town reached Lady 
Russell in her retreat. She heard that the 
Court, disquieted by the effect produced on 
the country by the paper given to the Sheriff 
by Lord Russell on the scaffold, denied its 
authenticity. This roused her from her 
depression. She considered this attack an 
injury to her husband's memory, and hastened 
to write to the King in the style of a person 
called by a sense of duty to repel an injury 

Lady Russell 73 

to the dead, and seeming reckless of con- 
sequences to herself. The letter is endorsed 
" My Letter to the King, a Few Days After 
my Lord's Death," and is as follows : 

" May it please Your Majesty, I find my 
husband's enemies are not appeased with 
his blood, but still continue to misrepresent 
him to Your Majesty. It is a great addition 
to my sorrows to hear Your Majesty is 
prevailed upon to believe that the paper 
he delivered to the Sheriff at his death was 
not his own. I can truly say, and am ready 
in the solemnest manner to attest, that 
(during his imprisonment) I often heard 
him discourse the chiefest matters contained 
in that paper in the same expressions he 
therein uses, as some of those few relations 
that were admitted to him can likewise aver. 
And sure it is an argument of no great force 
that there is a phrase or two in it another 
uses, when nothing is more common than 

74 Memoirs of 

to take up such words we like, or are 
accustomed to in our conversation. I beg 
leave further to avow to Your Majesty, that 
all that is set down in the paper read to Your 
Majesty on Sunday night, to be spoken in 
my presence, is exactly true ; as I doubt not 
but the rest of the paper is, which was 
written at my request ; and the author of 
it, in all his conversation with my husband 
that I was privy to, showed himself a loyal 
subject to Your Majesty, a faithful friend to 
him, and a most tender and conscientious 
minister to his soul. I do, therefore, humbly 
beg Your Majesty would be so charitable to 
believe that he, who in all his life was 
observed to act with the greatest clearness 
and sincerity, would not at the point of 
death do so disingenuous and false a thing as 
to deliver for his own what was not properly 
and expressly so. And if, after the loss 
in such a manner of the best husband in 

Lady Russell 75 

the world, I were capable of any consolation, 
Your Majesty only could afford it by having 
better thoughts of him, which, when I was 
so importunate to speak with Your Majesty, 
I thought I had some reason to believe I 
should have inclined you to, not from the 
credit of my word, but upon the evidence of 
what I had to say. I hope I have written 
nothing in this that will displease Your 
Majesty. If I have, I humbly beg of you 
to consider it as coming from a woman 
amazed with grief ; and that you will pardon 
the daughter of a person who served Your 
Majesty's father in his greatest extremities 
(and Your Majesty in your greatest posts), 
and one that is not conscious of having ever 
done anything to offend you (before). I 
shall ever pray for Your Majesty's long 
life and happy reign Who am with all 
humility, May it please Your Majesty, 


76 Memoirs of 

It is a widow aggrieved, it is the devoted 
wife of a conspirator just dead on the scaffold 
for maintaining the right of resistance and 
the liberties of his country, who manifests 
with such simplicity this profound respect 
for Monarchy, this attention to propriety, 
this susceptibility so humble in words, so 
proud in reality. Days, months, years, pass 
on ; she remains the same, entirely given to 
one feeling, without being overwhelmed by 
it ; at the same time collected, attentive, and 
even active, in the business of life. Her 
friend Dr. Fitzwilliam takes the most tender 
interest in the noble daughter of his old 
patron, and employs his uttermost efforts to 
support, to console, to lead her through all 
her troubles closer to her God and Saviour. 
It is to him that Lady Russell opens her 
heart ; it is to him she confides all her 
internal conflicts her fits of depression, her 
seasons of trustful confidence. The follow- 

Lady Russell 77 

ing extracts from this correspondence will 
be sufficient to give some idea of her 
character, especially rare and admirable in- 
asmuch as passion and good sense, tender- 
ness of feeling and firmness of mind, never 
neutralise each other. Through forty years 
of widowhood, whilst devoted to the memory 
of a beloved husband, she continued reason- 
able and active in all the relations, all the 
affections, all the duties, we might almost 
say, all the interests, of the world around 

Shortly after her misfortune, Dr. Fitz- 
william had sent her some religious advice, 
and forms of prayer. In her answer she 
says : 

" I need not tell you, good Doctor, how 
little capable I have been of such an exercise 
as this. You will soon find how unfit I am 
still for it, since my yet disordered thoughts 
can offer me no other than such words as 

78 Memoirs of 

express the deepest sorrows, and confused 
as my yet amazed mind is. But such men 
as you, and particularly one so much my 
friend, will, I know, bear with my weakness 
and compassionate my distress, as you have 
already done by your good letter and ex- 
cellent prayer. I endeavour to make the 
best use I can of both ; but I am so evil and 
unworthy a creature, that though I have 
desires, yet I have no dispositions or worthi- 
ness, towards receiving comfort. You that 
know us both and how we lived, must allow 
I have just cause to bewail my loss. I know 
it is common with others to lose a friend ; 
but to have lived with such a one, it may be 
questioned how few can glory in the like 
happiness, so consequently lament the like 
loss. Who can but shrink at such a blow, 
till by the mighty aids of His Holy Spirit, 
we will let the gift of God, which He hath 
put into our hearts, interpose ? That reason 

Lady Russell 79 

which sets a measure to our souls in pros- 
perity will then suggest many things which 
we have seen and heard to moderate us in 
such sad circumstances as mine. But, alas ! 
my understanding is clouded, my faith weak, 
sense strong, and the devil busy to fill my 
thoughts with false notions, difficulties, and 
doubts . . . but this I hope to make matter 
of humiliation, not sin." 

A few days later : 

" You deal with me, Sir, just as I would 
be dealt withal ; and it is possible I feel the 
more smart from my raging griefs because I 
would not take them off, but upon fit con- 
siderations ; as it is easiest to our natures to 
have our sore in deep wounds gently handled ; 
yet as most profitable, I would yield, nay 
desire, to have mine searched, that, as you re- 
ligiously design by it, they may not fester. It 
is possible I grasp at too much of this kind, 
for a spirit so broke by affliction ; for I am so 

8o Memoirs of 

jealous that time, or necessity, the ordinary 
abater of all violent passions (nay, even em- 
ployment, or company of such friends as I 
have left), should do that my reason or re- 
ligion ought to do, as makes me covet the 
best advices, and use all methods to obtain 
such a relief as I can ever hope for, a silent 
submission to the severe and terrible provi- 
dence, without any ineffective unwillingness 
to bear what I must suffer ; and such a 
victory over myself, that, when once allayed, 
immoderate passions may not be apt to break 
out again upon fresh occasions and accidents, 
offering to my memory that dear object of 
my desires, which must happen every day, I 
may say every hour, of the longest life I can 
live, that so, when I must return into the 
world, so far as to act that part is incumbent 
upon me in faithfulness to him I owe as 
much as can be due to man, it may be with 
great strength of spirits, and grace to live a 

Lady Russell 81 

stricter life of holiness to my God, who will 
not always let me cry to Him in vain. On 
Him I will wait till He have pity on me, 
humbly imploring that, by the mighty aids of 
His most Holy Spirit, He will touch my heart 
with greater love to Himself. Then I shall 
be what He would have me. But I am un- 
worthy of such spiritual blessing, who remain 
so unthankful a creature for those earthly 
ones I have enjoyed, because I have them no 
longer. Yet God, who knows our frames, will 
not expect that when we are weak we should 
be strong. This is much comfort under my 
deep dejections, which are surely increased 
by the subtle malice of that great enemy of 
souls, taking all advantages upon my present 
weakened and wasted spirits, assaulting with 
divers temptations, as, when I have in any 
measure overcome one kind, I find another 
in the room, as when I am less afflicted (as I 
before complained), then I find reflections 


82 Memoirs of 

troubling me, as omissions of some sort or 
other ; that if either greater persuasions had 
been used, he had gone away ; or some 
errors at the trial amended, or other applica- 
tions made, he might have been acquitted, 
and so yet have been in the land of the 
living (though I discharge not these things 
as faults upon myself, yet as aggravations to 
my sorrows ) ; so that not being certain of 
our time being appointed, beyond which we 
cannot pass, my heart shrinks to think his 
time possibly was shortened by unwise 
management, I believe I do ill to torment 
myself with such unprofitable thoughts." 

To Mr. Griffith, who had written to her 
on occasion of her loss, she writes : 

" I have loved man too well, and did not 
weigh enough how short my interest might 
be in that loved object of my desires : had 
God had full possession of my soul, or had I 
prized His love, adored His wisdom, and 

Lady Russell 83 

believed His goodness in all the secret con- 
ducts of His providences (yea, although I 
groaned under the sharpest dispensations of 
it), I should not be cast down ; but passion 
rebels, and I cannot, with the constancy and 
frame of spirit I desire, follow His steps in 
that thorny path of suffering He trod before 
me with so much ease : this calls for the 
sharpest accents of my lamentations ; but I 
still bestow them upon the loss of earthly 
enjoyments ; our grosser part lying nearer to 
their more suitable objects in the mixed state 
of this world ; sense soon prevails, and by 
perpetual sharp and quick remembrances 
brings to my mind how full of content my 
mind lately was, and that I must never here 
know more ; it is a bitter reflective, can only 
be allayed by seriously fixing upon that con- 
sideration you have lighted on to offer me, 
that whatever he did in his place he did it 
faithfully, as unto God, and upon that belief 

84 Memoirs of 

may safely ground a hope he was lifted from 
a prison to a throne ; then I know it is very 
unreasonable to take so heavily, that what 
was so precious to me, his gain, should be 
matter of so grievous and lasting a weight 
of sorrow to me ; but I must hope this is my 
infirmity, and that our High Priest, who was 
touched with ours, will give me (who with 
my soul desires with my groans to mingle 
justification of my God) suffering grace for a 
suffering condition, making His rod medicinal 
to me ; and by giving a strong faith in the 
precious promises of the gospel, I shall one 
day be able to evidence to my soul, that they 
belong to me, that His rod and love have 
gone together, and, though sorely chastened, 
yet instruction hath accompanied correction, 
awakened and quickened me to make my 
calling and election sure, bearing up my 
evidence to heaven, where, after a few more 
weary days, we shall together enjoy the 

Lady Russell 85 

visions of God, ever praising Him to eternal 
ages, without interposition of ill accidents : 
that I may prepare for this blessed change, 
and without undue impatience wait the time, 
and in the meanwhile attain such a measure 
of comfort as is necessary for a prudent and 
faithful discharge of my remaining duty to 
him to whom I owe as much as can be due 
to man. Remember me, good Mr. Griffith, 
in your supplications to the Throne of Grace 
for suitable divine assistance to the miseries 
and necessities of, Sir, your ever sad but 
faithful friend to serve you, 



FOR some time after her efforts in behalf of 
her husband and her loss, there was a re- 
action and depression which threatened to 
become permanent, and in some measure to 
disable her from feeling the consolations of 
religion. Dr. Fitzwilliam seems to have 
remonstrated with her on having indulged 
her feelings by visiting her husband's tomb. 
She answered : 

" Doctor, I had considered I went not to 
seek the living among the dead ; I knew 
I should not see him any more wherever I 
went, and had made a covenant with my- 
self, not to break out in unreasonable, fruit- 
less passion, but quicken my contemplation 

Memoirs of Lady Russell 87 

whither the nobler part was fled, to a country 
afar off, where no earthly power bears any 
sway, nor can put an end to a happy society; 
there I would willingly be, but we must not 
limit our time : I hope to wait without im- 

In another letter she says : 

"But sure, Doctor, it is the nature of 
sorrow to lay hold on all things which give 
a new ferment to it ; then how could I choose 
but feel it in a time of so much confusion 
as these last weeks have been, closing so 
tragically as they have done ; and sure never 
any poor creature for two whole years to- 
gether has had more awakers to quicken 
and revive the anguish of soul than I have 
had ; yet I hope I do most truly desire that 
nothing may be so bitter to me, as to think 
that I have in the least offended thee, O my 
God, and that nothing may be so marvellous 
in my eyes as the exceeding love of my 

88 Memoirs of 

Lord Jesus ; that, heaven being my aim, 
and the longing expectations of my soul, 
I may go through honour and dishonour, 
good report and bad report, prosperity and 
adversity, with some evenness of mind. 
The inspiring me with these desires is, I 
hope, a token of His never - failing love 
towards me though an unthankful creature 
for all the good things I have enjoyed, and 
do still in the lives of hopeful children by 
so beloved a husband." 

Again : 

"You cannot make so great a mistake, 
good Doctor, I know, as not to be assured 
I accept most kindly every method you take 
for the disposing my sad heart to be sub- 
missively content with my position here ; 
and then to revive it to some thankful 
temper by various reflections. I do not 
resist so foolishly as to say they are not 
proper ones ; I can discern so justly as to 

Lady Russell 89 

know you do not err, Doctor, in the manner 
of magnifying your charitable respect, nor 
in the design nor prosecution of it ; the 
virtue you chiefly recommend to practise is 
so beautifully set forth, it is as a burning 
shining light, and one is willing to live with 
that light. But my languishing, weary spirit 
rises up slowly to all good : yet I hope by 
God's abundant grace in time your labours 
will work the same effect in my spirit ; they 
will indeed in less time on others better 
disposed and prepared than I am, who in 
the day of affliction seem to have no remem- 
brance, with due thankfulness, of prosperity. 
Your papers, sure, Sir, are rarely fitted for 
the use of all struggling under the burden 
of sin or sorrow, though by a singular and 
particular charity composed for my lament- 
able calamity, and as seasonably is this new 
supply come, as is possible, for its first 
perusal by me. Since I unsealed your 

90 Memoirs of 

packet this very morning, the 2ist of July, 
a day of bitterness indeed, I seasoned the 
first minutes of retirement, I allotted this 
day for prayer and mourning, with reading 
them, and made a stop for some time on 
those lines * We may securely depend on 
the truth of God's promises, to this purpose, 
that a seed-time of tears shall be followed 
by a plenteous harvest of joys.' It is a 
sound I must hereafter be a stranger to in 
my pilgrimage here, but that it shall one 
day belong to me is a contemplation of great 
comfort, and I bless God it is so ; I must 
not in lowliness r of mind deny the grace I 
sometimes feel, though faint are my best 
thoughts and performances, as I am sensible." 

After passing ten months at Woburn, in 
solitude and inaction, she felt the need of 
change of scene, and of seeking new im- 
pressions. On April 20, 1684, she wrote : 

"The future part of my life will not, I 

Lady Russell 9 1 

expect, pass as perhaps I would just choose ; 
sense has been long enough gratified, indeed 
so long I know not how to live by faith ; 
yet the pleasant stream that fed it near 
fourteen years together being gone, I have 
no sort of refreshment but when I can repair 
to that living fountain from whence all 
flows ; while I look not at the things which 
are seen, but at those which are not seen, 
expecting that day which will settle and 
compose all my tumultuous thoughts in 
perpetual peace and quiet ; but am undone, 
irrecoverably so, as to my temporal longings 
and concerns. Time runs on and usually 
wears off some of that sharpness of thought 
inseparable from my circumstances, but I 
cannot experience such an effect ; every 
week making me more and more sensible 
of the miserable change in my condition : but 
the same merciful hand which has held me 
up from sinking in the extremest calamities, 

92 Memoirs of 

will (I verily believe) do so still, that I faint 
not, to the end in this sharp conflict, nor 
add sin to my grievous weight of sorrows, 
by too high a discontent, which is all I have 
now to fear. You do, I doubt not, observe 
I let my pen run too greedily upon this 
subject ; indeed it is very hard upon me to 
restrain it, especially to such as pity my 
distress, and would assist towards my relief 
any way in their power. I am glad I have 
so expressed myself to you, as to fix you in 
resolving to continue the course you have 
begun with me, which is to set before me 
plainly my duty in all kinds : it was my 
design to engage you to it ; nor shall you 
be less successful with me, in your desires, 
could there happen occasion for it, which 
is most unlikely, Dr. Fitzwilliam under- 
standing himself and the world so well. 
On neither of the points, I believe, I shall 
give you reason to complain, yet please 

Lady Russell 93 

myself in both, so far of one mind we 
shall be. 

"I am entertaining some thoughts of 
going to that now desolate place Stratton, 
for a few days, where I must expect new 
amazing reflections at first, it being a place 
where I have lived in full and sweet con- 
tent, considered the condition of others, and 
thought none deserved my envy ; but I 
must pass no more such days on earth ; 
however, plans are indeed nothing. Where 
can I dwell that his figure is not present to 
me ? Nor would I have it otherwise ; so I 
resolve that shall be no bar, if it proves 
requisite for the better acquitting any obliga- 
tion upon me. That which is the immediate 
one is settling, and indeed giving up, the 
trust my dear Lord had from my best 
sister. Fain would I see that performed, as 
I know he would have done it had he lived. 
If I find I can do as I desire in it, I will 

94 Memoirs of 

(by God's permission) infallibly go ; but 
indeed not to stay more than two or three 
weeks, my children remaining here, who 
shall ever have my diligent attendance, 
therefore shall hasten back to them." 

Five months later : 

" I have resolved to try that desolate 
habitation of mine at London this winter. 
The doctor agrees it is the best place for 
my boy, and I have no argument to balance 
that, nor could take the resolution to see 
London till that was urged ; but by God's 
permission I will try how I can endure that 
place, in thought a place of terror to me ; 
but I know if sorrow had not another root, 
that will vanish in a few days." 

She did not carry out her intention 
immediately, and six weeks afterwards she 
wrote : 

" I have, you find, Sir, lingered out my 
time here, and I think none will wonder at 

Lady Russell 95 

it, that will reflect the place I am going to 
remove to was the scene of so much lasting 
sorrow to me, and where I acted so unsuccess- 
ful a part for the preservation of a life I could 
sure have laid down mine to have continued. 
It was, Doctor, an inestimable treasure I did 
lose, and with whom I had lived in the 
highest pitch of the world's felicity. But 
I must remember I have a better Friend, 
a more abiding, whom I desire with an 
inflamed heart to know, not alone as good 
in a way of profit, but amiable in a way of 
excellency ; then spiritual joy will grapple 
with earthly griefs, and so far overcome as 
to give some tranquillity to a mind so tossed 
to and fro as mine has been with the evils of 
this life; yet I have but the experience of 
short moments of this desirable temper, and 
fear to have fewer when I first come to that 
desolate habitation and place where so many 
passions will assault me : but having so many 

96 Memoirs of 

months mourned the substance, I think (by 
God's assistance) the shadows will not sink 

Her hope was fulfilled. Though often 
falling into fits of despondency or weakness, 
she overcame them, and her firmness of mind 
and fervent piety kept her from exaggerated 
feelings for the present, or fears in regard to 
the future. She writes, a few months after 
the foregoing : 

" I strive to reflect how large my portion 
of good things has been ; and though they are 
passed away no more to return, yet I have a 
pleasant work to do, dress up my soul for my 
desired change, and fit it for the converse 
of angels and the spirits of just men made 
perfect, amongst whom my hope is my loved 
Lord is one ; and my often repeated prayer 
to my God is, that if I have a reasonable 
ground for that hope, it may give a refresh- 
ment to my poor soul." 

Lady Russell 97 

A few months later : 

" The great thing is to acquiesce with all 
one's heart to the good pleasure of God, who 
will prove us by the ways and dispensations 
He sees best ; and when He will break us to 
pieces we must be broken. Who can tell His 
works from the beginning to the end? But 
who can praise His mercies more than 
wretched I, that He has not cut me off in 
anger, who have taken His chastisements so 
heavily, not weighing His mercies in the midst 
of judgments ? The stroke was of the fiercest, 
sure ; but had I not then a reasonable ground 
to hope that what I loved as I did my own soul 
was raised from a prison to a throne ? Was I 
not enabled to shut up my own sorrows, that I 
increased not his sufferings by seeing mine ? " 

Again, still a few months later : 

" I cannot tell, Doctor, whether your 
papers met me in a better temper now, than 
at some other times, to relish them ; yet 

98 Memoirs of 

sure I esteem these sheets to be so fine, that 
it brought into my mind the loss you have 
lately sustained of a much-loved friend ; and 
to conclude, that a new experience of grief 
had, in your struggles to overcome all unfit 
discontent, raised your fancy to the highest 
pitch of framing arguments against it ; it is a 
happy effect of sorrow, and a sure evidence 
to the soul that the promises of the Holy 
Word belong to her ; that the work of grace 
is apt, and grows towards those degrees 
where, when we arrive, we shall triumph 
over imperfections, and our wills desire 
nothing but what shall please God. We 
shall, as your phrase is, be renewed like 
eagles ; and we, like eagles, mount up to 
meet the Lord coming in the clouds, and 
ever tarry with Him, and be no more faint or 
weary in God's service. These are ravishing 
contemplations, Doctor ! They clasp the heart 
with delight for such moments, or, to say 

Lady Russell 99 

more truly, part of a moment, that the soul 
is so well fixed. It is true, we can (you are 
sure) bear the occasions of grief without 
being sunk and drowned in those passions ; 
but to bear them without a murmuring heart 
there is the task ; and in failing there lies 
the sin. O Lord, lay it not to the charge of 
thy weak servant ; but make me cheerfully 
thankful that I had such a friend to lose ; 
and contented that he has had dismission 
from his attendance here (an expression you 
use I am much pleased with). When my time 
comes that I shall have mine, I know not how 
it will find me then ; but I am sure it is my best 
reviving thought now; when I am plunged 
in multitudes of wild and sad thoughts, I 
recover and recollect a little time will end 
this life, and begin a better that shall never 
end, and where we shall discover the reasons 
and ends of all those seeming severe pro- 
vidences we have known. Thus I seem to 

ioo Memoirs of 

long for the last day, and yet it is possible if 
sickness, or other forerunner of our dissolu- 
tion, were present, I would defer it if I could ; 
so deceitful are our hearts, or so weak is our 
faith. But I think, one may argue again, 
that God has wisely implanted in our nature 
a shrinking at the approach of a separation ; 
and that may make us content, if not desire a 
delay. If it were not so implanted there, 
many would not endure the evils of life that 
now do it, though they are taught duty that 
obliges us thereto." 

A year later : 

" I had made him my idol, though I did 
not know it ; I loved man too much and God 
too little ; yet my constant prayer was not to 
do so but not enough fervent I doubt. I 
will turn the object of my love all I can upon 
his loved children, and if I may be directed 
and blessed in their education, what is it I 
have to ask in relation to this perishing world 

Lady Russell 101 

for myself? It is joy and peace in believing 
that I covet, having nothing to fear but sin. 

" The near and pleasing concern you make 
the well-being of me and mine to be to 
you, I believe most hearty and sincere, and 
kindly engages me to great thankfulness ; but 
amongst your choicest expressions, you are 
induced to say you could rather envy my 
condition than pity it, from an opinion of 
being supported and comforted with a well- 
grounded persuasion of my having a right 
and title to those precious promises that will 
give a pleasant and perpetual rest to the 
weary and heavy-laden soul. This, Doctor, 
is perhaps what you mistake in ; and I have 
led you into the error by speaking too well 
of my own thoughts or exercises, which are 
truly all mean and encompassed with un- 
comfortable weakness ; yet I have not the 
confusion to reflect I have said anything from 
a false glory ; I should, if I can discern right, 


Memoirs of 

wrong my own heart by it, and that grace 
of God which disposes me, though in the 
meanest degree, to ask for and thirst after 
such comforts as the world cannot give. 
What it can give I am most sure I have 
felt, and experienced them uncertain and 
perishing ; such I will never more (grace 
assisting) look after ; and yet I expect a 
joyful day, after some more sorrowful ones ; 
and though I walk sadly through the valley 
of death, I will fear no evil, humbling myself 
under the mighty hand of God, who will save 
me in the day of trouble ; He knows my 
sorrows and the weakness of my person. I 
commit myself and mine to Him. 

" The pensive quiet I hope for here 
[Woburn], I think, will be very grateful to 
my weary body and mind ; yet when I con- 
template the fruits of the trial and labour of 
these last six months, 1 it brings some comfort 

1 The marriage of her eldest daughter. 

Lady Russell 103 

to my mind, as an evidence that I do not 
live only to lament my misfortunes, and be 
humbled by those heavy chastisements I 
have felt, which must for ever in this life press 
me sorely. That I have not sunk under the 
pressure has been, I hope, in mercy, that I 
might be better fitted for my eternal state, 
and form the children of a loved husband 
before I go hence. With these thoughts 
I can be hugely content to live ; and the 
rather as the clouds seem to gather and 
threaten storms ; though God only knows 
how I may acquit myself, and what help I 
may be, or what example I shall give to my 
young creatures. I mean well towards them, 
if I know my heart." 

The following was written two years 
later : 

" By report I fear poor Lady Gains- 
borough is in new trouble ; for though she 
has all the help of religion to support her, 

104 Memoirs of 

yet that does not shut us out from all sorrow ; 
it does not direct us to insensibility if we 
could command it, but to a quiet submission 
to the will of God, making His ours as 
much as we can. Indeed, Doctor, you are 
extremely in the right to think that my life 
has been so embittered, it is now a very 
poor thing to me : yet, I find myself careful 
enough of it. I think I am useful to my 
children, and would endure hard things to 
do for them till they can do for themselves ; 
but alas ! I am apt to conclude if I had not 
that, yet I should still find out some reason 
to be content to live, though I am weary of 
everything and of the folly, the vanity, and 
the madness of man most of all. There is 
a shrinking from the separation of the soul 
from the body, that is implanted in our 
natures, which enforces us to conserve life ; 
and it is a wise Providence ; for who would 
else endure much evil, that is not taught the 

Lady Russell 105 

great advantage of patient sufferings ? I am 
heartily sorry, good Doctor, that you are 
not exempt, which I am sure you are not, 
when you cannot exercise your care as 
formerly among your flock at Cottenham. 
But I will not enlarge on this matter, nor 
any other at this time." 

After another two years she writes : 
" But to come to the purpose of yours, 
which I received the i3th of this lamentable 
month, the very day of that hard sentence 
pronounced against my dear friend and 
husband : it was the fast day, and so I 
had the opportunity of retiring without any 
taking notice of it, which pleases me best. 
What shall I say, Doctor ? That I do live 
by your rules ? No : I should lie. I bless 
God it has long been my purpose, with some 
endeavour, through mercy, to do it. I hope 
I may conclude I grieve without sinning ; 
yet I cannot attain to that love of God, and 

106 Memoirs of 

submission to all His providences, that I can 
rejoice in ; however, I bless Him for His 
infinite mercy, in a support that is not 
wrought from the world (though my heart 
is too much bound up in the blessings I 
have yet left) ; and I hope chiefly He has 
enabled me to rejoice in Him as my ever- 
lasting portion, and in the assured hope of 
good things in the other world. 

" Good Doctor, we are travelling the 
same way, and hope, through mercy, to 
meet at the same happy end of all our labours 
here, in an eternal rest : and it is of great 
advantage to that attainment, communicating 
pious thoughts to each other; nothing on 
this side heaven goes so near to it ; and 
being where God is, it is heaven. If He 
be in our hearts there will be peace and 
satisfaction, when one recollects the happi- 
ness of such a state (which, if my heart 
deceives me not, I hope is mine), and I 

Lady Russell 107 

will try to experience more and more that 
blessed promise ' Come unto me, all ye that 
are heavy laden, and I will give you ease.' 
This day and this subject inclines me to be 
very long, and might to another be too 
tedious ; but I know it is not so to Dr. 
Fitzwilliam, who uses to feast in the house 
of mourning. However, my time to open 
my chamber door is near, and I take some 
care not to affect in these retirements." 


THE foregoing excerpts show how Lady 
Russell attempted to resist the depression 
to which her circumstances naturally gave 
rise. She received many letters of con- 
solation and friendly counsel from Burnet, 
Tillotson, Patrick, Howe, and others; for 
which in one of her letters she expresses 
her gratitude : 

" How were my sinking spirits supported 
by the early compassions of excellent and 
wise Christians, without ceasing, admonish- 
ing me of my duty, instructing, reproving, 
comforting me ! You know, Doctor, I was 
not destitute ; and I must acknowledge that 
many others like yourself, with devout zeal 

Memoirs of Lady Russell 109 

and charity, contributed to the gathering 
together of my scattered spirits, and then 
subjecting them by reason to such sub- 
mission as I could obtain under so aston- 
ishing a calamity." 

She wrote also, if not with the same 
freedom, at least with the same sentiments, 
to some persons who had rendered her 
important services, or shown her sympathy 
under her trial. Lord Halifax, among 
others, had interceded with the King, after 
the execution of Lord Russell, and had 
obtained, with great difficulty, permission 
that his family arms might be placed over 
the door of his house, as if he had died 
a natural death. He had subsequently 
maintained a friendly relation with Lady 
Russell, who wrote to him on the death of 
his daughter Lady Carbery in 1689. Lord 
Halifax, in acknowledging her letter, had 
given expression to his feelings at some 

I 10 

Memoirs of 

political vexations which had annoyed him 
about the same time ; on which Lady 
Russell wrote again as follows : 

" My Lord, For my part, I think the 
man a very indifferent reasoner, that to do 
well he must take with indifference whatever 
happens to him. It is very fine to say, Why 
should we complain that is taken back which 
was but lent us, and lent us but for a time, 
we know ? and so on. They are the receipts 
of philosophers I have no reverence for, as 
I have not for anything which is unnatural. 
It is insincere. And I dare say they did dis- 
semble, and felt what they would not own. 
I know I cannot dispute with Almighty 
Power ; but yet if my delight is gone, I 
must needs be sorry it is taken away, 
according to the measure it made me 

' 'The Christian religion only, believe me, 
my Lord, has a power to make the spirit 

Lady Russell m 

easy under great calamity ; nothing less than 
the hope of being again made happy can 
satisfy the mind : I am sure I owe more to 
it than I could have done to the world, if 
all the glories of it had been offered me, 
or to be disposed of by me. And I do 
sincerely desire your Lordship may ex- 
perience the truth of my opinion. You 
know better than most, from the share you 
have had of the one, what they do afford ; 
and I hope you will prove what tranquillity 
the other gives. If I had a better wish to 
make, your Lordship's constant expressions 
of esteem for me, and willingness, as I hope, 
to have had me less miserable than I am, 
if you had found your power equal to your 
will, engages me to make it ; and that alone 
would have bound me, though my own 
unworthiness and ill fortune had let you 
have forgot me for ever after my sad lot. 
But since you would not do so, it must 

H2 Memoirs of 

deserve a particular acknowledgment for 


A distressing but efficacious diversion of 
her thoughts was given her by a near 
prospect of fresh losses. Her son, scarcely 
four years old, became dangerously ill. She 
was on the point of losing him ; but he 

" God has been pitiful to my small grace," 
she wrote to Dr. Fitzwilliam, " and removed a 
threatened blow, which must have quickened 
my sorrows, if not added to them, the loss 
of my poor boy. He has been ill, and God 
has let me see the folly of my imaginations, 
which made me apt to conclude I had nothing 
left the deprivation of which could be 
matter of much anguish, or its possession 
of any considerable refreshment. I have 
felt the falseness of the first notion, for I 
know not how to part with tolerable ease 
from the little creature. I desire to do so 

Lady Russell 113 

of the second, and that my thankfulness for 
the real blessing of these children may 
refresh my weary, labouring mind with 
some joy and satisfaction, at least in my 
endeavours to do that part towards them 
their most dear and tender father would 
not have omitted, and which, if successful, 
though early made unfortunate, may conduce 
to their happiness for the time to come and 
hereafter. When I have done this piece of 
duty to my best friend and them, how gladly 
would I lie down by that beloved dust I 
lately went to visit (that is, the case that 
holds it)." 

Shortly afterwards : 

" You hear I am at Totteridge, and why 
I came thither, and soon will know I wanted 
the auxiliaries you took care to send me; 
sure I did so, but it hath pleased the Author 
of all Mercies to give me some glimpse and 
ray of His compassions in this dark day 


ii4 Memoirs of 

of my calamity, the child being exceedingly 
better; and I trust no secret murmur or 
discontent at what I have felt, and must 
still do, shall provoke my God to repeat 
those threatenings of making yet more bitter 
that cup I have drunk so deeply out of; but 
as a quiet submission is required under all 
the various methods of Divine Providence, 
I trust I shall be so supported, that though 
unfit thoughts may haunt me, they shall not 
break in importunately upon me, nor will I 
break off that bandage time will lay over my 
wound. To them that seek the Lord His 
mercies are renewed every morning ; with 
all my strength to Him I will seek ; and 
though He kill me I will trust in Him ; 
my hopes are not of this world ; I can 
never more recover pleasure here ; but more 
durable joys I shall obtain, if I persevere to 
the end of a short life." 

Three years later she writes : 

Lady Russell 115 

" I often think, could but this single 
particular be fixed firmly in our hearts, that 
God knows where it is best to place His 
creatures, and is good to all, delighting not to 
punish what He has made, how easily and 
safely could we live by rule, and despise the 
world ; not as, perhaps, I do, because I can- 
not recover what was a perpetual bliss to me 
here, but as considering we are strangers 
and pilgrims upon earth, travelling to a 
better country, and therefore may well bear 
with bad accommodations sometimes in our 
way to it. None are so dealt with, I believe, 
as not to live some days of joy, yet we can lay 
no claim to do so, nor are the happiest here 
below without tasting the bitter cup of 
affliction at some time of their life ; so 
imperfect is this state, and doubtless wisely 
and mercifully ordered so, that through all 
the changes and chances of this mortal life 
we may be the most apt to thrust forward 

n6 Memoirs of 

towards, and .in the end (with inexpressible 
joy) attain, that state where, as you express 
it, we shall feel no more storms, but enjoy a 
perpetual calm. What can be more ? The 
thought clasps one's heart, and causes the 
imprisoned soul to long to take her flight! 
But it is our duty to wait with patience 
each of us our appointed time." 

She had long to wait for the happy re- 
union which she so strongly desired. While 
waiting, as years passed on, she treated her 
grief as men treat an ailment which cannot 
be cured, with which they learn to live. 
Notwithstanding the void in her heart, her 
life was active, and she was occupied without 
her thoughts being distracted. The educa- 
tion of her children, their prospects, the 
management of her household, the interests 
and welfare of her neighbours, were the 
objects of her constant care. " I am very 
glad," wrote Burnet, "that you intend to 

Lady Russell n; 

employ so much of your time in the education 
of your children, that they shall need no 
other governess ; for as it is the greatest 
part of your duty, so it will be a noble 
entertainment to you, and the best diversion 
and cure of your wounded and wasted 
spirits." Her daughters, indeed, never had 
any other governess. She was careful that 
her own sorrow should not interfere with 
enjoyments proper to their age. 

" The poor children," she wrote, when 
she returned to Stratton, " are well pleased 
to be a little while in a new place, ignorant 
how much better it has been both to me and 
them ; yet I thought I found Rachel not 
insensible, and I could not but be content 
with it in my mind. Those whose age can 
afford them any remembrance should, 
methinks, have some solemn thoughts for so 
irreparable a loss to themselves and family ; 
though after that I would cherish a cheerful 

us Memoirs of 

temper in them with all the industry I can ; 
for sure we please our Maker best when we 
take all His providences with a cheerful spirit." 
She bore a most grateful affection to her 
father-in-law, the Earl of Bedford. He lost 
his wife. 1 She gave up a journey she had 
designed, and remained with him. " I would 
not choose," she said, " to leave a good man 
under a new oppression of sorrow, that has 
been, and is, so very tender to me." It was 
to her that application was made amid all 
important circumstances connected with the 
family : among others, in a project for the 
marriage of her brother-in-law, Edward 
Russell, and one of the daughters of Lord 

1 Anne, daughter and sole heiress of Robert Carr, Earl of 
Somerset, by his too celebrated Countess, Frances Howard, the 
divorced wife of Essex. The Earl's father strongly objected to the 
marriage, saying that his son might take any other woman in 
England. His consent was obtained only by the King's interference. 
Lady Bedford's health never recovered the shock which it had received 
from her son's execution ; and her death is said to have been hastened 
by the accidental sight of a pamphlet commenting on her mother's 
guilt, the knowledge of which had been carefully kept from her. 
She was found senseless with it open before her. 

Lady Russell 119 

Gainsborough, father-in-law of her sister 
Elizabeth ; and a proposal made by Lord 
Strafford for one of her sisters-in-law. It 
was known that her advice would be good, 
and that her approval would carry great 
weight. " I have done it," she writes on one 
of these occasions, " though I wish she had 
made choice of any other person than myself, 
who, desiring to know the world no more, am 
utterly unfitted for the management of any- 
thing in it; but must, as I can, engage in 
such necessary offices for my children as I 
cannot be dispensed from, nor desire to be, 
since it is an eternal obligation upon me to 
the memory of a husband to whom, and to 
his, I have dedicated the few and sad 
remainder of my days in this vale of misery 
and trouble." 


THE day of so much interest for mothers 
arrived sooner than she expected. Her 
eldest daughter, Rachel, was only fourteen 
when Lord Cavendish, Earl of Devonshire, 
asked her in marriage for his eldest son, who 
was only sixteen. Lord Cavendish had been 
the most intimate and devoted friend of Lord 
Russell ; l and Lady Russell, feeling deeply 
the sentiment which dictated the proposal, 
and sensible of the fitness of the connection, 
accepted it with much satisfaction. 

" I trust," she wrote to Dr. Fitzwilliam, 
"if I perfect this great work, my careful 
endeavours will prosper ; only the Almighty 

1 See p. 65. 

Memoirs of Lady Russell 121 

knows what the event shall be ; but sure it is 
a glimmering of light I did not look for in 
my dark day. I do often repeat in my 
thoughts, The children of the just shall be 
blessed : I am persuaded their father was 
such : and if my heart deceive me not, I 
intend the being so, and humbly bless God 
for it." 

The settlements were difficult to arrange : 
the most exalted sentiments are sometimes 
united with sordid and obstinate requirements. 

"I have," wrote Lady Russell, " a well- 
bred lord to deal with, yet inflexible, if the 
point is not to his advantage. I am to meet 
him this morning at eleven o'clock at the 
lawyer's chambers, proposing to give a finish- 
ing stroke to the agreement between us, and 
then the deeds will be drawn in a few more 
weeks, I hope, and the matter perfected." 

These conferences and discussions annoyed 
her. " I meet," she said, " with hard difficulties 

122 Memoirs of 

in the lawyer's hands ; we are forced to be 
with a great many of that profession, which is 
very troublesome at this time to me, who 
would fain be delivered from them, conclude 
my affairs, and so put some period to that 
inroad methinks I make on my intended 
manner of living the rest of my days on earth. 
But I hope my duty shall always prevail 
above the strongest inclination I have. I 
believe to assist my yet helpless children is 
my business ; which makes me take many 
dinners abroad, and do of that nature many 
things the performance of which is hard 
enough to a heavy and weary mind ; but yet, 
I bless God, I do it." 

She brought these affairs to an end, how- 
ever ; and on 2ist June 1688 her daughter 
was married to the young Lord Cavendish, 
who almost immediately departed to travel on 
the Continent. 

It would be a mistake to suppose that 

Lady Russell 123 

Lady Russell lived strictly in retirement, with 
her sweet but sad memories, her religious 
meditations, her duties and family cares. She 
was not naturally of a very lively and fertile 
mind ; nor was she disposed spontaneously 
to seek and to find everywhere subjects of 
interest and action. Left to herself and to 
ordinary life, she would perhaps have taken 
no part in the great ideas and movements of 
the time ; but she had entered into them in 
company with her husband, from sympathy 
with him, and with a mind capable of under- 
standing and feeling everything great. She 
continued faithful to Lord Russell's cause as 
to his memory, and constantly occupied, in 
her isolated state, with the same questions of 
religious and political liberties which, had 
he been still with her, would have formed 
the subjects of their joint solicitude and of 
their private conversation. The revocation 
of the Edict of Nantes excited in her not 

124 Memoirs of 

only the most lively sympathy with the 
proscribed Protestants, but also deep moral 
reflections. In writing to Dr. Fitzwilliam 
she said : 

" Doctor, I will take your advice, and vie 
my state with others, and begin with him in 
the highest prosperity, as himself thinks, the 
King of a miserable people ; but truly the 
most miserable himself, by debasing as he 
does the dignity of human nature ; and 
though, for secret ends of Providence, he is 
suffered to make these poor creatures drink 
deep of a most bitter cup, yet the dregs are 
surely reserved for himself. What a judg- 
ment it is upon an aspiring mind, when 
perhaps half the world knows not God nor 
confesses the name of Christ as a Saviour, 
nor the beauty of virtue, which almost all 
the world has in derision, that it should not 
excite him to a reformation of faith and 
manners ; but with such a rage turn his 

Lady Russell 125 

power to extirpate a people that own the 
Gospel for their law and rule ! How 
infamous to his fame is the one! How 
glorious to his memory would the other 
have been! But he is too wicked to be 
an instrument of so much good to his 
degenerate age. Now, Sir, I cannot choose 
but think myself less miserable than this poor 
King. For the vast numbers of sufferers, 
the sound thereof is more terrible to those 
at a distance than the calamity of a single 
person ; but taken asunder, the sufferings of 
any one, and those I have and do feel, are 
not perhaps at so wide a distance as it 
appears, theirs being heaped together; but, 
as you very well note, there is no state to 
be pronounced extremely miserable, but a 
state of sin, which will deprive us of a future 
state of glory, without a deep repentance, 
which I wish to all sinners. I hear our 
King has given leave for collection for those 

Memoirs of 

Protestants which have been drove hither. 
God make His people thankful for it." 

Two months later she says : 

" Yesterday the Lord Delamere passed 
his trial, and was acquitted. I do bless God 
that He has caused some stop to the effusion 
of blood that has been shed of late in this 
poor land. But, Doctor, as diseased bodies 
turn the best nourishments, and even cordials, 
into the same sour humour that consumes 
and eats them up, just so do I. When I 
should rejoice with them that do rejoice, I 
seek a corner to weep in, I find I am capable 
of no more gladness ; but every new circum- 
stance, the very comparing my night of sorrow 
after such a day with theirs of joy, does, from 
a reflection of one kind or other, rack my un- 
easy mind. Though I am far from wishing 
the close of theirs like mine, yet I cannot 
refrain giving some time to lament mine was 
not like theirs ; but I certainly took too much 

Lady Russell 127 

delight in my lot, and would too willingly 
have built my tabernacle here, for which I 
hope my punishment will end with life. 

" The accounts from France are more and 
more astonishing; the perfecting work is 
vigorously pursued, and by this time com- 
pleted, it is thought; all without exception 
having a day given them ; only those I am 
going to mention have found so much grace 
as I'll tell you. ... It is enough to sink 
the strongest heart to read the relations are 
sent over. How the children are torn from 
their mothers and sent into monasteries, 
their mothers to another. The husband 
to prison or the galley. These are amaz- 
ing providences, Doctor ! God out of infinite 
mercy strengthen weak believers ! I am too 
melancholy an intelligencer to be very long, 
so will hasten to conclude." 

Her own country engaged her attention 
in a still greater degree. The trial and 

128 Memoirs of 

death of Algernon Sidney, the succession 
of James II., the progress of his tyranny, 
Monmouth's insurrection, and the severities 
then inflicted on so many of the friends of 
the cause which was dear to her, revived 
her most painful remembrances. At times 
she derived an unexpected consolation even 
from these misfortunes. 

" The new scenes of each day," she 
writes, "make me often conclude myself 
very void of temper and reason, that I 
still shed tears of sorrow, and not of joy, 
that so good a man is landed safe on the 
happy shore of a blessed eternity ; doubtless 
he is at rest, though I find none without him, 
so true a partner he was in all my joys and 
griefs; I trust the Almighty will pass by 
this my infirmity ; I speak it in respect to 
the world, from whose enticing delights I 
can now be better weaned. I was too rich 
in possession while I possessed him ; all 

Lady Russell 129 

relish now is gone. I bless God for it, and 
pray and ask of all good people (do it for me 
from such you know are so) also to pray 
that I may more and more turn the stream 
of my affection upwards, and set my heart 
upon the ever-satisfying perfections of God ; 
not starting at His darkest providences, but 
remembering continually either His glory, 
justice, or power is advanced by every one 
of them, and that mercy is over all His 
works, as we shall one day with ravishing 
delight see. In the meantime I endeavour 
to suppress all wild imaginations a melan- 
choly fancy is apt to let in, and say, with 
the man in the Gospel, ' I believe : help thou 
mine unbelief.' " 

Religious thoughts, however, did not 
always calm her real disquietude and real 
griefs. The religious and political situation 
of England became daily more and more 
gloomy, and Lady Russell, whose strongest 


130 Memoirs of 

feelings were concerned, was daily more and 
more saddened and alarmed for her children, 
for her country, and for the prospects of the 
cause for which Lord Russell had laid down 
his life. The following extracts from her 
letters show her state of feeling at this time : 
" Those are happy whoyin the midst of 
confusions, can faithfully believe the end of 
all shall be rest ; and if we can evidence to 
our hearts we have a title according to the 
promises of the gospel to that happy rest, 
what can be a very uneasy disturbance ? 
Nothing should be, I am certain, yet we 
find pretences for it. I think I fear not 
myself, but I am afraid what risk my 
children may run ; and if that were not, 
our weak faith would furnish us out with 
some other reason to justify, as we fancy, 
our too great carefulness. I will do what 
I can not to exceed, and so bid you adieu 
for this time." 

Lady Russell 131 

" We in the country are still kept under 
wonder and expectation ; the cloud is very 
thick that is spread over us ; but this is our 
support (if we can but maintain our courage 
for a while), that nothing that can befall us 
can hurt us much ; being the power of man 
reaches no farther than these frail bodies, 
that must, however, in a little while lie 
down, until that glorious day of the Lord, 
when all men's works shall be tried by a 
right judgment ; then shall we see many 
justified that have stood condemned with 
the world : till then I desire to wait with 

" There is no time so hazardous but the 
righteous and the repentant may run unto 
God and be safe ; and if we must not escape 
the judgments of the sword, yet I trust it 
shall cut off only such as most notoriously 
cumber God's ground ; and that in the midst 
of wrath He will remember mercy, if we will 

132 Memoirs of 

but meet Him in His judgments, as miserable 
sinners ought to do ; and as I question not 
but numbers in this land do." 

The revolution of 1688 put an end to this 
position of pain and monotony. After five 
years of mourning and depression, Lady 
Russell suddenly saw her husband's cause 

She was at Woburn during the two 
months which elapsed between the landing 
of the Prince of Orange in England and the 
final departure of James. Far from London, 
alone with her father-in-law and her children, 
she yet was well - informed of what was 
passing, and she watched the course of 
events with the restrained interest of a 
reasonable mind which knows the uncertainty 
attending great designs, and with a religious 
trust which leaves its family and country in 
the hands of God. We see by her letters 
that she diligently read the gazettes and 

Lady Russell 133 

papers published on both sides, and that 
details of Town and Court news reached 
her frequently. Anxious for information, 
when she heard that Burnet had arrived 
with the Prince at Salisbury, she sent to 
him a letter by a special messenger. 

" Curiosity," she says, "may be too eager, 
and therefore not to be justified, but sure it 
is unavoidable. I do not ask you should 
satisfy any part of it further than you can do 
in six lines. But I would see something of 
your handwriting upon English ground, and 
not read in print only the labour of your 

When the conflict approached its close, 
she went with the Earl of Bedford to pass 
some days in London, and it was probably 
then that, King James having requested 
Lord Bedford's assistance, the Earl said, 
"Sire, I had a son who might to-day have 
supported Your Majesty." Lady Russell 

134 Memoirs of 

had a near view of the scenes amid which 
William was seated on the throne. 

"Those who have lived longest," she 
wrote to Dr. Fitzwilliam, "and therefore 
seen the most change, can scarce believe it 
is more than a dream : yet it is indeed real, 
and so amazing a reality of mercy as ought 
to melt and ravish our hearts into subjection 
and resignation to Him who is the dispenser 
of all providences." 

Writing to Tillotson some time afterwards, 
she says : " The many public and signal 
mercies we have of late received are so 
reviving, notwithstanding the black and 
dismal scenes which are constantly before 
one, and particularly in these sad months, 
I must feel the compassions of a wise and 
good God to these late sinking nations, and 
to the Protestant interest all the world over, 
and all good people also. I raise my spirit 
all I can and labour to rejoice in the prospect 

Lady Russell 135 

of more happy days for the time to come 
than some ages have been blessed with. 
The goodness of those instruments God has 
called forth to work this great work by 
swells one's hopes." 

Though she had kept up no regular 
communication with the Prince of Orange, 
they were not unknown or indifferent to each 
other. Letters occasionally passed between 
her and the Princess ; and William knew too 
well the weight of Lord Russell's name in 
England, and the consideration in which his 
widow was held, not to pay her an especial 
regard. When he sent Dykevelt as Am- 
bassador to England in 1687, he instructed 
him to visit Lady Russell, and in his name 
to express the deep esteem and great interest 
which he felt for her. Lady Russell, on the 
24th of March 1687, gives an account of this 
visit, in which the Ambassador conveyed the 
Prince's expressions of good -will towards 

136 Memoirs of Lady Russell 

her and the families with which she was 
connected, and assurances that any request 
she might make should be acceded to, adding 
that he acted not as an individual, but as a 
public minister. He repeated an expression 
made use of by Mr. Skelton, the English 
Ambassador at the Hague, when the news of 
Lord Russell's death was received, to the 
effect that the King had taken the life of one 
man, but it would cost him perhaps several 
thousand men. 


WILLIAM, when proclaimed King, did not 
delay publicly to confirm the language which 
his Minister had addressed to Lady Russell 
nearly two years before. On the evening of 
the 1 3th of February 1689, King William 
and Queen Mary having in the morning 
accepted the Crown from Parliament held 
their first public reception at Whitehall. 
Lady Russell was not there. Indisposed for 
all earthly pomp, even when her own cause 
was concerned, she quitted neither her house 
nor her mourning. Her daughter, Lady 
Cavendish, however, attended the Court with 
her mother-in-law, the Countess of Devon- 
shire. Writing to a friend, she says : " At 

138 Memoirs of 

night I went to Court with my Lady 
Devonshire, and kissed the Queen's hand 
and the King's also. There was a world of 
bonfires, and candles almost in every house, 
which looked extremely pretty. The King 
applies himself mightily to business, and is 
wonderfully admired for his great wisdom 
and prudence in ordering all things. He is 
a man of no presence, but looks very homely 
at first sight ; but if one looks long on him, 
he has something in his face both wise and 
good. But as for the Queen, she is really 
altogether very handsome ; her face is very 
agreeable, and her shape and motions 
extremely graceful and fine. She is tall, but 
not so tall as the last Queen. Her room 
was mighty full of company, as you may 

Political action soon succeeded royal 
civility. An Act was passed by Parliament 
reversing the sentence on Lord Russell, 

Lady Russell 139 

which it designated as murder. It was 
brought into the House of Commons "at 
the request of the Earl of Bedford and Lady 
Russell." Sir Thomas Clarges moved that 
these words should be omitted, because, said 
he, "national justice is above personal 
solicitation ; this Act is not passed as a 
personal favour : all England is concerned in 
it." It was the second Act which received 
the royal assent after William's accession. 
A short time afterwards, to show favour at 
the same time to two families united by 
domestic ties as well as by political feelings, 
he raised the Earls of Bedford and Devon- 
shire to the Dukedom. The letters patent 
of the new Duke of Bedford stated, among 
the grounds for this favour, " that this was 
not the least, that he was father to the Lord 
Russell, the ornament of his age, whose 
great merits 'twas not enough to transmit by 
history to posterity, but they were willing 

140 Memoirs of 

to record them in their royal patent, to 
remain in the family as a monument con- 
secrated to his consummate virtue, whose 
fame would never be forgot so long as men 
preserved any esteem for sanctity of manner, 
goodness of mind, and a love of their country 
constant even to death. Therefore, to 
solace his excellent father for so great a loss, 
to celebrate the memory of so noble a son, 
and to excite his worthy grandson, the heir 
of such mighty hopes, more cheerfully to 
emulate and follow the example of his 
illustrious father, they entailed this high 
dignity upon the Earl and his posterity." 

Family gratifications came to Lady Russell 
along with political restorations and honour. 
Her second daughter, Catherine, was married 
to Lord Roos, the eldest son of the Earl of 
Rutland ; and her son to Miss Rowland, a 
rich heiress of Surrey. In neither case did 
she decide hastily, or on mere considerations 

Lady Russell 141 

of rank or fortune. On account of a divorce 
which gave rise to some scruples, she 
hesitated for some time before she allowed 
her daughter to enter the family of the Earl 
of Rutland, and she had refused a still more 
wealthy alliance for her son. The brilliancy 
of these marriages and the prosperity of the 
family drew upon her the attention of all, 
without any one being surprised or envious. 
The public openly sympathised with this 
reparation of injustice ; and the relations and 
friends of the Russells, the Cavendishes, and 
the Wriothesleys, took pleasure in report- 
ing to Lady Russell in her retirement at 
Southampton House the splendour of the 
festivals in which she had no part. Her 
daughter Catherine, after her marriage with 
Lord Roos, was conducted by her husband 
to Belvoir, the seat of the Earl of Rutland, 
her father-in-law. On this occasion Sir James 
Forbes by whom, ten years previously, 

142 Memoirs of 

Lord Cavendish had conveyed to Lord 
Russell the proposal to take his place in 
prison while he escaped wrote to Lady 
Russell : 

" MADAM, I could not miss this op- 
portunity of giving your Ladyship some 
account of Lord Roos and Lady Roos' 
journey, and their reception at Belvoir, 
which looked more like the progress of a 
King and Queen through their country, 
than that of a bride and bridegroom's going 
home to their father's house. At their first 
entry into Leicestershire, they were received 
by the High Sheriff at the head of all the 
gentlemen of the country, who all paid their 
respects to the lady bride at Harborough. 
She was attended next day to this place by 
the same gentlemen, and by thousands of 
other people, who came from all places of 
the country to see her, and to wish them 
both joy, even with huzzas and acclamations. 

Lady Russell 143 

"As they drew near to Belvoir, our train 
increased, with some coaches and with fresh 
troops of aldermen, and corporations, besides 
a great many clergymen, who presented the 
bride and bridegroom with verses upon their 
happy marriage. 

" I cannot better represent their first arrival 
at Belvoir, than by the Woburn song that Lord 
Bedford liked so well ; for at the gate were 
four-and-twenty fiddlers all in a row ; four- 
and- twenty trumpeters, with their tan-tara- 
ra-ra's ; four-and-twenty ladies, and as many 
parsons; and in great order they went in 
procession to the great apartment, where the 
usual ceremony of saluting and wishing of 
joy passed, but still not without something 
represented in the song as very much tittle- 
tattle and fiddle-faddle. After this the time 
passed away till supper in visiting all the 
apartments of the house, and in seeing the 
preparations for the sack-posset, which was 

144 Memoirs of 

the most extraordinary thing I did ever see, 
and much greater than it was represented to 
be. After supper, which was exceedingly 
magnificent, the whole company went in pro- 
cession to the great hall : the bride and 
bridegroom first, and all the rest in order, 
two and two. There it was the scene opened, 
and the great cistern appeared, and the 
healths began, first in spoons, some time 
after in silver cups, and though the healths 
were many, and great variety of names 
given to them, it was observed after one 
hour's hot service, the posset did not sink 
above one inch, which made my lady Rut- 
land call in all the family, and then upon 
their knees the bride and bridegroom's 
health, with prosperity and happiness, was 
drunk in tankards brim-full of sack-posset. 
This lasted till past 12 o'clock. Madam, 
Your most humble and faithful servant, 
I693 . " J. FORBES." 

Lady Russell 145 

In addition to the account of these rejoic- 
ings, Lady Russell received from some of her 
friends congratulations which were doubtless 
more in accordance with her own feelings. 
Burnet writes : "I do heartily congratulate 
with your Ladyship for this new blessing. 
God has now heard your prayers with 
relation to two of your children, which is a 
good earnest that He will hear them in due 
time with relation to the third. You begin 
to see your children's children : God grant 
you may likewise see peace upon Israel. 
And now that God has so built up your 
house, I hope you will set yourself to build 
a house of prayer for the honour of His 

" You have passed through very different 
scenes of life : God has reserved the best to 
the last. I do make it a standing part of 
my poor prayers twice a day, that as now 
your family is the greatest in its three 


146 Memoirs of 

branches that has been in England in our 
age, so that it may in every one of these 
answer those blessings by an exemplary 
holiness, and that both you and they may 
be public blessings to the age and nation." 

She had only just married her son when 
she received a proposal respecting him 
equally singular and flattering. A General 
Election was at hand. The Duke of 
Shrewsbury, Lord Steward, and Lord 
Somers, Keeper of the Seals, caused a 
request to be conveyed to Lady Russell 
that she would agree to her son, notwith- 
standing his youth (he was only fifteen years 
of age), becoming a candidate for the County 
of Middlesex. " I made all the objections," 
says Sir James Forbes, " against it that I 
think the Duke of Bedford or your Lady- 
ship can make, yet they were still of one 
opinion, that it is your interest, and for the 
honour of the family, that he should stand 

Lady Russell 147 

at present ; and being joined with Sir John 
Worsename, a very honest man who is 
recommended by my Lord Keeper, they 
doubt not but they will carry it with a high 
hand, and thereby keep out two notorious 
Tories, which can never be done otherwise. 
When I told their Lordships that my Lord 
Tavistock was soon going to Cambridge, 
and afterwards to travel for two or three 
years, the Duke of Shrewsbury answered 
that they would not hinder anything of that 
design ; for he needed not to appear but 
once at the election, when he would be 
attended by several thousands of gentlemen 
and other persons on horseback out of town, 
and the charges would be little or nothing ; 
and the Duke of Shrewsbury bid me tell 
your Ladyship, that if you did consent he 
should stand, which he doubted not but you 
would, since it was on so good an account, 
that then they must have leave to set him 

148 Memoirs of 

up for that day only by the name of Lord 
Russell, which would bring ten thousand 
more on his side, if there be so many free- 
holders in the County." 

Lady Russell had now received the 
utmost consolation the world could afford. 
Her husband's sentence had been reversed 
by the highest authority in the realm ; his 
cause had triumphed over all opposition ; 
and his family had received the highest 
honours. All that could gratify conjugal 
and maternal love and pride had been 
heaped upon her. These honours, however, 
did not remove her sense of the loss she 
had sustained ; nor did it disturb the sound- 
ness of her judgment. With respect to 
the honours bestowed on the Russell and 
Cavendish families, she says : " For the late 
circumstances in relation to the family, I 
would have assisted to my power for the 
procuring thereof; but for any sensible joy 

Lady Russell 149 

at these outward things, I feel none." She 
prudently resolved to reject the premature 
political triumph offered to her son. In 
forwarding the letter containing the proposal 
for his election to her brother-in-law, Lord 
Edward Russell, with a request that he 
would see the Duke of Shrewsbury on the 
subject, she expresses her own and Lord 
Bedford's strong objections to it, and their 
conviction that the interruption of her son's 
studies would be fatal to his career. 

Maternal discretion prevailed over party 
interests, and, instead of presenting himself 
to the electors of Middlesex, Lord Tavistock 
went to complete his education at the Uni- 
versity, " where our young nobility," she 
wrote to Dr. Fitzwilliam, " should pass some 
of their time : it has been for many years 
neglected." She brought into the most 
ordinary incidents of private life the same 
sound judgment, the same uprightness and 

150 Memoirs of 

moral feeling, preserved thereby from the 
prejudices, the pride, and the frivolity 
which were too common among the old 
aristocracy. Before deciding to give her 
daughter Catherine to the son of the Earl 
of Rutland, she asked the latter whether his 
Lordship did not think it due to the young 
couple that they should see of each other a 
little more than they had done, and so at 
least guess at each other's humour, before 
they ventured to make them, as she hoped 
they would be, a happy couple. A few years 
later she had to dispose of the patronage of 
two livings. She wrote to one of her 
friends, Sir Robert Worsley : " I find both 
places well disposed to receive Mr. Swayne. 
I hope he is worthy of the gift, and believe 
you think him so. If you should know any- 
thing why he is not, though as a friend you 
might wish he were the incumbent, yet I am 
persuaded that in a just regard to the weight 

Lady Russell 151 

of the matter, and to me who ask it from 
you, if you know any visible reason that he 
is not a proper person for such a preferment, 
that you will caution me in it ; for, I profess 
to you, Sir, I think the care of so many souls 
is a weighty charge, and I have been willing 
to take time to consider whose hands I put 
these into. I can, with all my scruples, make 
no exception to Mr. Swayne, if his vapours 
are not too prevalent to permit his being free 
and active in such a charge." 

This union of virtue and good sense, the 
same throughout circumstances of the most 
varying character, amid the favours of fortune 
as well as under its reverses, acquired to Lady 
Russell among the people, as well as at the 
Court of England, a consideration and a 
moral influence such as few women have 
ever possessed. After their elevation to the 
Throne, King William and Queen Mary 
continued to show her the same respect as 

152 Memoirs of 

before, and paid the same attention to her 
wishes. At the time of the Revolution, 
when the formal consent of the Princess 
Anne to the coronation of the Prince of 
Orange was required, Lady Churchill, after- 
wards Duchess of Marlborough and confidant 
of the Princess, would not advise her to give 
it until she had consulted persons of un- 
doubted integrity and wisdom, " especially 
Lady Russell and Dr. Tillotson." Tillotson 
himself long hesitated before he yielded to 
William's urgent desire that he should be- 
come Archbishop of Canterbury, fearing that 
the non-recognition of the King's title by a 
part of the clergy would interfere with his 
usefulness if he accepted the office from him. 
It was Lady Russell who decided him to 
yield. Consulted by him and informed of 
the pressure put upon him by the King, she 
wrote, after discussing and arguing against 
the Dean's scruples : 

Lady Russell i 53 

" The time seems to be come that you 
must put anew in practice that submission 
you have so powerfully both tried yourself 
and instructed others to. I see no place to 
escape at ; you must take up the cross and 
bear it. I faithfully believe it has the figure 
of a very heavy one to you, though not from 
the cares of it ; since, if the King guesses 
right, you toil more now ; but this work is 
of your own choosing, and the dignity of 
the other is what you have bent your mind 
against, and the strong resolve of your life 
has been to avoid it. Had this even pro- 
ceeded to a vow, it is, I think, like the virgin's 
of old, to be dissolved by the father of your 
country. Again, though contemplation, and 
a few friends well chosen, would be your 
grateful choice, yet if charity, obedience, and 
necessity call you into the great world, and 
where enemies encompass round about, must 
not you accept it ? And each of these, in 

154 Memoirs of 

my mean apprehension, determines you to 
do it. In short, it will be a noble sacrifice 
you will make, and I am confident you will 
find as a reward kind and tender supports 
if you do take the burden upon you : there 
is, as it were, a commanding Providence in 
the manner of it. Perhaps I do as sincerely 
wish your thoughts at ease as any friend 
you have, but I think you may purchase that 
too dear ; and if you should come to think so 
too, they would then be as restless as before. 
" Sir, I believe you would be as much a 
common good as you can ; consider how few 
of ability and integrity this age produces. 
Pray, do not turn this matter too much in 
your head ; when one has once turned it 
every way, you know that more does but 
perplex, and one never sees the clearer for 
it. Be not stiff, if it be still urged to you. 
Conform to the Divine Will, which has set 
it so strongly into the other's mind, and be 

Lady Russell 155 

content to endure ; it is God calls you to it. 
I believe it was wisely said, that when there 
is no remedy they will give it over and 
make the best of it, and so I hope no ill will 
terminate on the King ; and they will lay up 
their arrows when they perceive they are 
shot in vain at him or you, upon whom no 
reflection that I can think of can be made 
that is ingenious ; and what is pure malice, 
you are above being affected with." 

With her best friend, Dr. Fitzwilliam, she 
had not the same success. She could not 
overcome his scruples at taking the oath of 
allegiance to William, and he left his living. 
Lady Russell's attempt to dissuade him from 
this course shows a conscientiousness equal 
to his own. " I am very sorry," she writes, 
" the case stands with you as it does in refer- 
ence to the oath ; and still wonder (unless I 
could find Kings of divine right) why it does 
so ! And all this is the acceptation of a word 

156 Memoirs of 

which I never heard two declare the meaning 
of but they differed in their sense of it. You 
say you could have taken it in the sense 
some worthy men have done. Why will 
you be more worthy than those men ? It is 

" If you can avoid mental reservation, 
that's the biggest thing to me, for I hate 
that to God or man ; properly I know we 
can have none to God, though we may wish 
to have it ; but I abhor that wish. But you 
seem to say, though you are permitted to 
declare, that is not enough, as not being 
consistent with the simplicity of an oath, 
and that it ought to be taken according to 
the mind of the imposers. If you can take 
it as those you mention have done, declaring 
they meant legal obedience and peaceable 
submission, I dare say you do so ; no more 
is meant to be imposed, especially by the 
King and Queen. And does not being 

Lady Russell 157 

content with the construction your friends 
put upon it signify their permission to take 
it in such a sense ? It was my Lord Notting- 
ham's misfortune to pitch upon that word 
which gives such scruples. But methinks 
(with submission to wiser heads) it should be 
a greater to weaken the interest of the Church 
and the Protestant religion all the world over 
to the degree so many able men incapacitating 
themselves to serve in the Church will do, if 
God in much mercy prevent it not. 

"It is above great and good men to 
regard reflections, if they give not a just 
cause of scandal : and in serving the cause 
of God the best we can, there is none given. 
It may very well be passive obedience went 
too high. Some drove Jehu -like. If it 
appears they perceive they did so, ought 
there to be shame in that, or ought it not 
to be borne cheerfully? If their nakedness 
is laid open and some Hams do insult, still 

158 Memoirs of Lady Russell 

they should be above it, and overcome evil 
with good. I never thought good men had 
any harm by the ill-natured speeches of 
malicious spirits. God knows the very best 
of men have infirmities, but they are ill men 
that retort them. However, after all is said, 
or can be said, a man must be quiet in his 
own breast if he can. When I began to 
write in this paper, I meant not one word 
of all I have said on this subject ; but I 
know, good Doctor, you will take it right ; 
accept well of my good meaning towards 
you, and excuse my defects. I pretend not 
to argue, but where my wishes are earnest 
I speak without reserve, sometimes by sur- 
prise ; but take it as it is, I will not look 
back to examine ; I know I need not to you." 
The difference made no change in their 
friendship, and he requested her to take 
charge of his library until he had deter- 
mined upon his course. 


ON all occasions Lady Russell, after the 
success of the cause in which she felt such 
deep interest, and amid the exaltation of her 
family, shows calm judgment and a liberality 
of mind and heart far removed from all in- 
flated feeling, even as she had shown firm- 
ness and constancy under her trials. The 
following letters indicate the consideration 
for others with which she acted in business 
matters. The first is addressed to Sir 
Jonathan Trelawney, Bishop of Exeter, one 
of the seven bishops who were sent to the 
Tower in 1688. 

" MY LORD, I am much obliged to your 
Lordship for the account you give me of 

160 Memoirs of 

your transactions with Mr. Reinolds and 
the Vicar of Tavistock, esteeming the pains 
you have taken in being so particular both 
as a respect and as proceeding from the 
same motive that inclined me to speak with 
your Chancellor, which was that this matter 
might be amicably composed. The late 
Duke of Bedford was a person of great 
justice, moderation, and courtesy, from which, 
if he ever swerved, I dare say it was only 
through misinformation ; but in managing 
his business he was regular in his method, 
doing it all generally by his officers, and 
very reserved to his friends and relations. 
I never knew anything of this difference till 
some time after his Grace's death, that Mr. 
Reinolds, his chief steward, applying himself 
to me, among other things acquainted me 
therewith, which he did upon occasion of a 
letter he had lately received from the Vicar, 
wherein he gave him to understand that 

Lady Russell 161 

your Lordship had renewed your prosecu- 
tion, and that he was under some apprehen- 
sion that my son would not support him as 
his grandfather would have done ; to which, 
out of pity to the grief and fear he expressed, 
I ordered the steward to reply to this effect : 
That my son being at Newmarket, he could 
give him at present no answer from him ; 
but I bid him tell him from me that I 
did not doubt but my son would assist him 
in all things that were just and reasonable ; 
and, resolving to get a relation of it as soon 
as I could from your Lordship's side, I 
found means to discourse with Doctor Edis- 
bury, your Chancellor, of which, I suppose, 
he has given you a better account than I 
can. Had I not observed that most of the 
differences that are arise from not having 
patience, or not using proper means to be 
truly informed, I should have thought you 
had singled out this man ; but by the course 


1 62 Memoirs of 

I took I soon understood your orders were 
general. I agree, my Lord, the Vicar ought 
to observe the rubric, and obey all your 
canonical injunctions. I am sensible what 
good effect singing psalms musically has 
had in several parishes ; and I am sorry a 
man, especially in so populous a place, 
should need to be ordered to read prayers 
Wednesdays and Fridays. In short, my 
Lord, neither I nor any that I can persuade 
will assist in opposing your just authority ; 
and, saving that we are not of their mind 
who would lay pains and penalties upon 
people for not conforming to its worship, 
we are, as much as any, for supporting the 
Church of England, and encouraging com- 
munion with it. 

" I am satisfied, my Lord, there are many 
would be very inconsiderable, were it not 
for being fierce of a party, and for that end 
they keep up a dissension, when the reason of 

Lady Russell 163 

it is ceased ; but I wish those whom I am 
concerned for to value men according to 
their worth, and not for being of a party, 
and to be assured irreligious and immoral 
men, of whatever party they are, or what- 
ever they profess, can never be true to friend 
or country, wanting the principle that should 
make them so. It highly imports my son 
to inquire into the things your Lordship 
relates of an officer of his ; and if what he 
writ to one of the gentlemen you mention 
be extant, and were put into my son's hands, 
it would be an undeniable proof, and put 
the matter past all out -facing. I cannot 
conclude before I give your lordship my 
thanks for your obliging letters, and your 
favour to the Vicar, upon our account. My 
son will order his steward to advise him to 
be more observant for the future, and to let 
him know he must expect no countenance 
from him if he be irregular." 

1 64 Memoirs of 

The following is taken from a letter to 
her cousin, the Earl of Galway : 

" I am thankful to God I have made an 

end between Mr. Sp and myself. Now 

as I am to answer for Mr. Sp , who 

was an accountant to me, being employed 
by me so, there is this article between him 
and me, that if any time there is a discovery 
of any money or debt due to him, I have 
the title to it, and not he, let it be much or 

"After many offers and endeavours, by 
council and without, I came to this agree- 
ment : He was to make a clear and full 
discovery of all he is worth lands, leases, 
monies, goods, debts, etc. Then I, who was 
to have the whole in me, allow back to him 
what I think will be a subsistence to him, 
his wife and children. And so I have done. 
Swearing is what I desire to excuse ; for it 
is possible he might be tempted to proceed 

Lady Russell 165 

in doing ill, and I not the better ; and if he 
had sworn truth, as others professed they 
would not believe him, though I am less 
free in the professing of it, I might have 
doubted ; then why provoke him to sin ? 

"What has been urged to me over and 
over again many times has no force in it, 
which was, that they would undertake, and 
are sure, he could conceal ten thousand 
pounds, which I should never discover, 
either in this nation or India. My answer 
is, if it cannot ever be found, it is to me as 
if it were not. And if I had any opinion 
of a conjuror (as we call them), I would not 
seek it that way. So what I approved best 
of, I chose. 

" That if a discovery be made out it is 
to my use. Now, the farm he has from his 
father, which is ^"55 a year, I could not 
come at, all counsel agreeing it to be out 
of the way ; nay, I must have had application 

1 66 Memoirs of 

to Chancery to have proceeded; there he 
could have hung it up. Sir Joseph Jekyll 
said this, that there it might hang for a 
dozen of years, nay, to the end of the youngest 
in the room, and Tom Selwood was one of 
the seven or eight : there were four counsel. 
Also, he said, he would not take five 
thousand pounds of me towards the charge 
I should be at. But all this avails not at 
all ; nothing but prison, nay, dying on a 
dunghill has no ill sound. At last I gave 
no further trouble (after having endured so 
much myself), from the opinion of a great 
lawyer, though not now to be paid as 
counsel. After two hours' discourse, and 
laying all before him, he told me it was 
the most advisable thing to compound the 
matter; and he esteemed it a very good 
composition, where they pretended to seven 
or eight thousand pounds from me, to pay 
me between two and three. He was so 

Lady Russell 167 

vehement in his opinion of making an end, 
that as a friend he prayed and exhorted me 
to set to it next morning; and if it were 
his case he would not sleep till it was done, 
if that were possible, for if he should happen 
to die, I could not imagine how bad my 
circumstances might be, even to the re- 
turning two thousand pounds I had then 
received, and never be able to disprove his 
account, so be a debtor eight thousand 
pounds to his wife and children. This has 
given me many terrible waking hours from 
week to week, seeking to please and ac- 
commodate to my wishes ; but they were not 
inclined to believe what they did not like ; 
so took no impression, as I would think they 
did not believe it did on me ; but I was no 
hypocrite ; I felt more than I told, my mind 
is more at rest as to all my worldly 


Once only she seems rather exacting. 

1 68 Memoirs of 

She had strongly recommended for admission 
to the King's Council a distinguished young 
man, William Cowper, who afterwards, under 
George I., became Chancellor and Lord 
Cowper. Some strong objections were made 
to granting this request ; a dispensation as 
to age was requisite. Lady Russell per- 
sisted, first to Lord Halifax, and afterwards 
to Sir H. Polloxfen, Attorney-General, her 
letter to whom concluded thus : " I under- 
take very few things, and therefore do very 
little good to people : but I do not love to 
be baulked, when I thought my end com- 
passed : and though you would not promote 
us in it, I hope you will not destroy us." 
This is the only trace in all her corre- 
spondence of any departure from that reserve 
and consideration for others which marked her 
conduct. The claim was indeed authorised 
by the merit of him in whose behalf it was 
made ; but the manner in which it was 

Lady Russell 169 

pressed seems to show an impatience at 
opposition which is not manifested in any 
other instance. 

Her own sufferings taught her to sym- 
pathise with those who suffered the loss 
of friends. In 1690 her cousin M. de 
Ruvigny was killed at the battle of the 
Boyne, and Lady Russell wrote to his 
mother : 

" Dieu nous a frappde, ma chere Madame, 
d'un coup qui nous parait fort rude ; mais 
Dieu ne pense pas comme rhomme pense, et 
il faut croire qu'il ne prend pas plaisir a 
tourmenter ses pauvres creatures. Mais que 
songeons-nous, que Dieu voulut se detourner 
de son chemin en ses providences pour notre 
contentement ? Non, assurement : il faut 
nous supporter le mieux que nous puissions 
sur toutes sorte d'ev^nements, et vivre en 
esp^rance qu'un jour nous verrons plus 
clairement la raison de tous ses noirs dispensa- 

1 70 Memoirs of 

tions qui nous attaquent, qui nous touchent si 

" Madame, je ne combats pas votre vive 
douleur, vous le devoyez, a un fils, et a un 
homme si brave et si amie" ote du monde. 

" II a aussi toutes sortes de consolations 
qu'on peut possible atteindre en la maniere 
de sa mort ; en toutes ses dernieres actions, 
mon ame me fait fort esprer qu'il fut 
accepte*, et que son ame se repose en le bras 
de cet Sauveur en qui il se reposoit avec 
tant de foy. Dieu veut, Madame, que vous 
et moy faisons nos devoirs en telle sorte que 
les accidents qui nous peuvent arriver ne 
nous d^tournent pas des sentiers de Dieu : 
mais au contraire nous ayant a passer douce- 
ment les peu de jours qui nous restent devant 
que nous entrons dans ces delices ternelles 
qu'il nous prepare." 

Twenty-six years afterwards she wrote to 
his brother, Lord Galway, who, like herself, 

Lady Russell 171 

had been called to mourn for his dearest con- 
nections : " I pray God to fortify your spirit 
under every trial, till eternity swallows all 
our troubles, all our sorrows, all our disappoint- 
ments, and all our pains in this life. The 
longest how short to eternity ! All these 
ought to be my own care to improve my 
weak self, as the fortitude of your mind, 
experience, and knowledge does to you. 
And I pray for such a portion of them in 
mercy to me as may secure an endless 
glorifying to so feeble, so ignorant, so mean 
a creature as myself, that I cannot be too 
little in my own sight." 

The following was addressed to Lady 
Essex the occasion does not appear : 

" In what I can serve the just end you aim 
at, I will be very diligent. And I beseech 
God one day to speak peace to our afflicted 
minds, and let us not be disappointed of our 
great hope. But we must wait for our day of 

i 7 2 Memoirs of 

consolation till this world passes away : an 
unkind and trustless world it has been to us. 
Why it has been such, God knows best : all 
His dispensations serve the end of His pro- 
vidences ; and they are ever beautiful, and 
must be good, and good to every one of us ; 
and even these dismal ones are to us, if we 
can bear evidence to our own souls, that we 
are better for our afflictions ; which God 
often makes them to be, who suffer wrong- 
fully. We may reasonably believe our 
friends find that rest we yet but hope for ; 
and what better comfort can your Ladyship 
or I desire in this valley of the shadow of 
death we are walking through ? The rougher 
our path is, the more delightful and ravish- 
ing will the great change be to us." 

In 1690 she lost her half-sister Lady 
Montagu, and her nephew Lord Gains- 
borough. The following letters were written 
on this occasion : the first to Tillotson ; the 

Lady Russell '73 

others to Dr. Fitzwilliam and Bishop 

" Your letters will never trouble me, Mr. 
Dean ; on the contrary, they are comfortable 
refreshments to my, for the most part, over- 
burthened mind, which both by nature and 
by accident is made so weak that I cannot 
bear with that constancy I should the losses 
I have lately felt. I can say, Friends and 
acquaintances Thou hast hid out of my sight, 
but I hope it shall not disturb my peace. 
These were young, and as they had begun 
their race of life after me, so I desired they 
might have ended it also. But happy are 
those whom God retires in His grace I trust 
these were so ; and then no age can be amiss : 
to the young it is not too early, nor to the 
aged too late. Submission and prayer is all 
we know that we can do towards our own relief 
in our distress, or to disarm God's anger, either 
in our public or our private concerns. The 

174 Memoirs of 

scene will soon alter to that peaceful and 
eternal home in prospect. But in this time 
of our pilgrimage vicissitudes of all sorts are 
every one's lot." 

" There is so much in those little sheets 
you sent me to thank you for, that, finding 
myself very ill-fitted to do it, I was tempted 
to let it quite alone, till I made shift to 
consider that, for the most part, our tempta- 
tions incline us to the worst things, and to 
the most forbidden tempers. This makes 
me rise from that listlessness I continually 
drop into till I have at least told you how 
sensible I am of your kindness on all 
occasions ; and I am sensible too how 
strong and pious all your offers of comfort 
to a disquieted mind are, and I hope that 
by often perusing them they will so affect 
me that the effect shall correspond to your 
Christian wishes and prayers for me, and I 

Lady Russell 175 

shall obtain a better freedom of mind than 
I am mistress of at present, since you 
conjecture very truly, every new stroke to a 
weary, battered carcass makes me struggle 
the harder ; and though I lost with my best 
friend all the delights of living, yet I find I 
did not want a quick sense of new grief for 
want of due considering that whatever below 
God is the object of our love will, at some 
time or other, be the matter of our sorrow. 
These two, my sister and a dear sister's son, 
began their course after me, but have ended 
it sooner. I would have had it otherwise, 
but I was vain and foolish in it. God knows 
where it is best to place His creatures. Your 
prayers are indeed of more use than your 
fears, for my health is good ; but I love greatly 
the prayers of my friends, that I may be re- 
signed in the case of my children ; for this trial 
has so experienced to me my sad weakness 
that I doubt myself, and humbly beg in mercy, 

176 Memoirs of 

but not in judgment, that I may be spared 
that trial." 

" I have, my Lord, so upright an heart to 
my friends that though your great weight of 
business had forced you to a silence of this 
kind, yet I should have had no doubt but 
that one I so distinguished in that little 
number God has yet left me does join with 
me to lament my late losses. The one was a 
just sincere man, and the only son of a sister 
and a friend I loved with too much passion ; 
the other, my last sister, and I ever loved 
her tenderly. 

"It pleases me to think that she deserves 
to be remembered by all those that knew 
her. But after above forty years' acquaint- 
ance with so amiable a creature, one must 
needs, in reflecting, bring to remembrance so 
many engaging endearments as are yet at 
present embittering and painful ; and indeed 
we may be sure that when anything below 

Lady Russell 177 

God is the object of our love, at one time 
or another it will be a matter of our sorrow. 
But a little time will put me again into my 
settled state of mourning ; for a mourner I 
must be all my days upon earth, and there 
is no need I should be other ; my glass runs 
low ; the world does not want me, nor I 
want that ; my business is at home, and 
within a narrow compass. I must not deny, 
as there was something so glorious in the 
object of my biggest sorrow, I believe that in 
some measure kept me from being then over- 
whelmed. So now it affords me, together 
with the remembrance how many easy years 
we lived together, thoughts that are joy 
enough for one who looks no higher than a 
quiet submission to her lot, and such pleasures 
in educating the young folks as surmounts 
the cares that it will afford. If I shall be 
spared the trial, where I have most thought 
of being prepared to bear the pain, I hope I 


1 78 Memoirs of Lady Russell 

shall be thankful, and I think I ask it faith- 
fully, that it may be in mercy, not in judg- 
ment. Let me rather be tortured here, than 
they or I be rejected in that other blessed 
peaceful home to all ages to which my soul 
aspires. There is something in the younger 
going before me that I have observed all 
my life to give a sense I cannot describe ; 
it is harder to be borne than a bigger loss, 
where there has been spun out a longer 
thread of life. Yet I see no cause for it, 
for every day we see the young fall with the 
old, but methinks it is a violence upon nature. 
"A troubled mind has a multitude of 
these thoughts. Yet I hope I master all 
murmurings ; if I have had any, I am sorry, 
and will have no more, assisted by God's 
grace; and rest satisfied that, whatever I 
think, I shall one day be entirely satisfied 
what God has done and shall do will be 
best, and justify both His justice and mercy." 


As she advanced in years, respected by 
all, satisfied in her family, and rejoicing in 
the prospects of her country, Lady Russell 
gradually changed. Without healing her 
wound, time, use, that self-renunciation 
which high-toned characters acquire with 
age, blunted the sharpness of the pain ; 
the same remembrances, the same regrets, 
equally strong, had not the same power; her 
affection for her children, her solicitude for 
their conduct and their happiness, occupied 
more of her thoughts and left less room for 
retrospection; devotion, duty, became her 
habitual life. She was more calm and re- 
signed, more and more submissive to the 

i8o Memoirs of 

Divine will, looking forward to the coming 
eternity, and more occupied in preparing 
for it. These are the feelings manifested 
in a long letter which she wrote to her 
children, before the marriages of her son 
and of her younger daughter, in which she 
gave them, with the utmost freedom, the 
counsels, the exhortations, the example of 
her faith and love. 

" My dear children," she says, " I write 
this upon the 2ist of July 1691 a day 
of sad remembrances to me, it being that 
whereon your excellent father was taken 
from us with much severity, to my lasting 
sorrow and your loss. 

" I have not yet omitted on this day (but 
when prevented by sickness) to humble and 
afflict myself under the mighty hand of God, 
pouring out my soul before Him in prayer and 
fasting. As, first, to testify my humiliation 
for all my sins, for my having offended God 

Lady Russell 181 

in so many and so frequent breaches of my 
baptismal vow, my Sacrament vows, and 
all those vows I have at any other time 
made of a better and more strict obedience 
to all His holy commandments, I recollect, 
as well as I can, what they have been, and 
make my resolutions to do better for the 
time to come, and as a help to my memory, 
I did now look over some notes I had by 
me of some former examination ; at other 
times I have done it by considering all the 
passages of my life which I have by me 
noted in a paper after the same manner I 
set yours down, and gave it you when you 
first received the Sacrament." She goes on 
to describe the daily exercises to which she 
had accustomed herself in order that none 
of her actions should escape a scrupulous 
examination, her habitual prayers, her read- 
ings, whether in the Scriptures or in works 
of religious instruction and edification. "On 

1 82 Memoirs of 

every Friday," she says, " I take my paper, 
and consider what I have been most faulty 
in this week as wandering in prayer, or 
negligent in reading, or passionate, or 
envious, or what else. I set it down (in 
as few words as I can) at the foot of my 
daily notes for that week ; and so that is an 
abridgment for the whole week. Saturday 
morning begins the next week. And upon 
the first Friday in every month, or the last, 
just before I use my confession, I look upon 
my notes and consider the actions of the 
whole month if nothing but common has 
happened, the less examination will suffice ; 
only I take care so to recollect as may 
represent anything that is remarkable or 
great, either to be matter of sorrow or 
thanksgiving (for other things a general 
care is proportionable), and make my resolu- 
tions accordingly ; and when I have done 
my devotions, I set down in a book I have 

Lady Russell 183 

to that purpose, at the weeks of that month, 
as I have made an abridgment of them, 
and then I tear my piece of paper and take 
a new one for the next month. 

" This gets on a habit of constant watch- 
fulness ; and at Sacrament times, or at any 
other time that I would examine myself, I 
find it a great help to read this. It saves 
much time in looking back, and one's 
thoughts are less distracted, and makes our 

lives more easy to us, when we see how we 


live from one Sacrament to another. And 
this makes religion easy, and the mind quiet 
and full of tranquillity; and though it may 
seem a hard task at first, yet a little use 
makes it none, though if it be, for flesh and 
blood is apt to draw back at the times of 
devotion, and especially at such-like exercise, 
yet if it help us to live more innocently, 
and to state things more reverently and use- 
fully between God and our souls, no pains 

1 84 Memoirs of 

is too much, but, on the contrary, doing this 
will upon trial (I speak it by experience) 
be found less pains to such as mean to be 
serious in religion and do desire to do 
their duty well and with cheerfulness : and 
is hugely more satisfying to the mind than a 
more careless, loose way of living is, and no 
settled method. . . . And now, my dear 
child, I have but little more to add, except 
to put you in mind to remember this life at 
longest is but short, and how short none can 
tell ; but if you live, crosses will come, and 
pleasures wear away. Strive to get gospel 
evidence of your being a child of God, and 
having a title to the promises of eternal life. 
I call gospel evidence the being able to take 
my hopes of being saved by my sincere en- 
deavours I use to live up to the rule of the 
Bible; therefore read it carefully all your life, 
learn some of it by heart, some I have named. 
"It is this, believe me, my dear child, it 

Lady Russell 185 

is the witness of an honest and good life in 
the day of trouble and distress. No refresh- 
ment then but in a well-founded hope to 
enjoy a happy eternity, and to what a degree 
that calms and sweetens the most bitter 
sorrows is inconceivable by such as have 
not felt it, as I bless God I have ever since 
I could get over the astonishment of so great 
and so sudden a blow. When I am cast down 
with some sad reflections [on] what I have 
lost, I do as soon as I can sum my thoughts 
to consider that in a short time I shall leave 
this world and go to a place where I shall 
see Him who died for me. I shall then know 
much of the reason of all those providences 
we do now so little understand, and think so 
severe. I shall meet all my pious friends 
again, and what a joy will it be to feel 
continual springs of pleasure, a perpetual 
and entire quiet in our own minds : no 
sickness, no bad appetite, no passion shall 

1 86 Memoirs of 

remain in us, but a constant joy in being 
extremely good ; and that the sense that 
this will be perpetual must add a freshness to 
that fulness of joy which could not be entire 
if we did not foresee would be endless. O 
blessed, longed-for day ! Yet I am willing to 
continue for your good (I think so). But if 
that care were over, it is very likely flesh 
and blood would find some other reason to 
be willing to continue. Nature shrinks at the 
separation of soul and body, and there is a 
love of living implanted in our natures ; 
and how well is it that it is so, to help us to 
endure the crosses and the toils and labours 
of life. Yet I can think of this day of death 
with sweet refreshment, and 'tis pleasantness 
to my thoughts. O, my beloved children, 
take care we meet again ; do but experience 
the pleasure of a well-spent life, and the pure 
delights of meditating on the future state of 
Eternity. That you may do so, and love it, to 

Lady Russell 187 

my last breath you will have the prayers of a 
truly loving mother. Consider, my dear, that 
all the innocent delights of life you may take 
and no anxiety of mind with it ; but if they 
shut out religious thoughts and performances 
and devour and take up all our time, then 
indeed we sin, and conscience will sting at 
some time or other and be a sore remem- 
brancer and check us in our gaiety ; but 
be devout and regular in your duties to 
God heaven will be secure, and pleasures 

The following passages from her letters 
show the solicitude with which she watched 
over her children, and how wisely she advised 
them. About two years after the marriage 
of her younger daughter, she writes thus to 
her the occasion does not appear : 

" I must not be long, and therefore hasten 
to remind you of your former promises to 
strive to take every providence patiently 

1 88 Memoirs of 

and as cheerfully as you can, and not foolishly 
pine and waste your spirits and spoil your 
health against a better day comes, which 
certainly will, if you provoke not the only 
Giver of all good things. Heaviness may 
endure for a night, but joy cometh in the 
morning ; and the chiefest blessing on this 
earth you have, a kind husband and a pretty 
gentleman. Let that sweeten all other 
meaner things, as it is your duty it should 
do. Strive to act your part and glory in it : 
it is a pride I can allow of : but all discontent 
proceeds from a pride that must be resisted, 
or a poor mortal can never be happy on 
earth, or prepared to be so in heaven. Can 
we without imprudence say to Him that 
made us, Why is it thus and thus with me ? 
Ask yourself what have you done, or what 
can man do, to merit from God ? Have not 
you many good things others want that are 
perhaps more humble than you, but still their 

Lady Russell 189 

submission is not tried enough ; but when it 
is, and they are as gold refined in the 
furnace, how greatly shall they be exalted 
for evermore, and respected here ? Take it 
well, my love : I remind you of your duty, 
and let it be your part to strive to do it. To 
whom asks it shall be given. You shall be 
contented if you desire it ; I have experienced 
it just at your years. I bless God I can say 
(without vanity) what pleased me I enjoyed, 
what crossed me had not power to torment 
me long. I strove to think if my lot had 
not been what it was it might have been 
worse for me in regard to my eternal interest, 
and that might pass and other days come, or 
however the day of vexation would end ; and 
I cannot commend a better reflection than 
this, that troubles or pleasures that end with 
time are not to be affecting at too high a 
rate. A year or two to come seems long, 
but twenty past as nothing. I have felt 

Memoirs of 

many days of bitter grief as well as others of 
lesser trouble and provocation, and many of 
great and true happiness which was made up 
by love and quiet at home, abroad friendships 
and innocent diversions ; and yet, believe 
me, child, life is a continual labour chequered 
with care and pleasure ; therefore rejoice in 
your portion take the world as you find it, 
and you will, I trust, find that heaviness may 
endure for a night but joy comes in the 
morning. It grows dark ; your sister is to 
close this from [your] well-wishing Mother." 

The following is from a letter to the Rev. 
J. Thornton respecting her son : 

" My constant prayer is, that his studies 
may be innocent and profitable, that is (in 
my thoughts), directed to his most spiritual, 
his precious and immortal soul. I lie under 
no discouragements, for yesterday Mr. 
Hicks speaks of him to me when we are 
alone just as he did. Logic goes forward 

Lady Russell 191 

very well, and he says his judgment is 
wonderful nice and true ; what he reads 
alone he gives a very handsome account of. 
He tried him the other day, by a new treatise 
on logic that the Dean of Christ Church 
has lately printed, but he observes he does 
not love to go over what he has once done. 
They have a Bible bound up with blank 
leaves, and in them, as he reads, he intends 
he shall write as he expounds any hard 

Nine years afterwards Lady Russell writes 
to her son, who had meanwhile succeeded his 
grandfather as second Duke of Bedford : 

"When I take my pen to write this, I 
am, by the goodness and mercy of God, in 
a moderate and easy state of health a 
blessing I have thankfully felt through the 
course of a long life, which (with a much 
greater help) the contemplation of a durable 
state has maintained and upheld me through 

192 Memoirs of 

varieties of providences and conditions of 
life. But all the delights and sorrows of this 
mixed state must end ; and I feel the decays 
that attend old age creep so fast on me 1 
that, although I may get over some more 
years however, I ought to make it my 
frequent meditation that the day is near 
when this earthly tabernacle shall be dis- 
solved and my immortal spirit be received 
into that place of purity where no unclean 
thing can enter, there to sing eternal praises 
to the great Creator of all things. With the 
Psalmist, I believe, 'at His right hand there 
are pleasures for evermore ' ; and what is 
good and of eternal duration must be joyful 
above what we can conceive, as what is evil 
and of like duration must be despairingly 
miserable. And now, my dear child, I pray, 
I beseech you, I conjure you, my loved son, 
consider what there is of felicity in this world 

1 Lady Russell was now over seventy years of age. 

Lady Russell 193 

that can compensate the hazard of losing an 
everlasting easy being ; and then deliberately 
weigh whether or no the delights and grati- 
fications of a vicious or idle course of life are 
such that a wise or thoughtful man would 
choose or submit to. Again, fancy its enjoy- 
ments at the height imagination can propose 
or suggest, which yet rarely or never happens, 
or, if it does, as a vapour, soon vanishes ; but 
let us grant it could, and last to fourscore 
years, is this more than the quickest thought 
to eternity ? O my child, fix on that word 
' eternity ' ! Old Hobbes, with all his fancied 
strength of reason, could never endure to 
rest or stay upon that thought, but ran from 
it to some miserable amusement. I remember 
to have read of some man, who, reading in 
the Bible something that checked him, threw 
it on the ground; the book fell open, and 
his eye fixed on the word ' eternity/ which so 

struck upon his mind that he from a bad liver 


194 Memoirs of 

became a most holy man. Certainly nothing 
besides the belief of reward and punishment 
can make a man truly happy in his life, at 
his death, and after death. Keep innocency, 
and take heed to the thing that is right, for 
that shall bring a man peace at the last- 
peace in the evening of each day, peace in 
the day of death, and peace after death. 
For my own part, I apprehend I should 
not much care (if free from pain) what 
my portion in this world was if a life to 
continue perhaps one year, or twenty, or 
eighty ; but then to be dust, not to know or 
be known any more this is a thought has 
something of horror in it for me, and always 
had, and would make me careless if it were 
to be long or short ; but to live, to die to live 
again, has a joy in it, and how inexpressible 
is that joy if we secure an humble hope to 
live ever happily ; and this we may do if we 
take care to live agreeably to our rational 

Lady Russell 195 

faculties, which also best secures health, 
strength, and peace of mind, the greatest 
blessings on earth. Believe the Word of 
God, the Holy Scriptures, the promises and 
threats contained in them ; and what most 
obstructs our doing so, I am persuaded, 
is fear of punishment. Look up to the 
firmament, and down to the deep : how can 
any doubt a Divine power ? And if there is, 
what can be impossible to infinite power ? 
Then why an infidel in the world ? And if 
not such, who then would hazard a future 
state for the pleasure of sin a few days ? 
No wise man, and indeed no man that lives 
and would desire to see good days ; for the 
laws of God are grateful. In His Gospel 
the terrors of majesty are laid aside and He 
speaks in the still and soft voice of His Son 
incarnate, the fountain and spring whence 
flows gladness. A gloomy and dejected 
countenance better becomes a galley slave 

196 Memoirs of 

than a Christian, where joy, love, and hope 
should dwell. The idolatrous heathen per- 
formed their worship with trouble and terror ; 
but a Christian and a good liver, with a 
merry heart and lightsome spirit ; for 
examine and consider well, where is the 
hardship of a virtuous life ? When we have 
moderated our irregular habits and passions 
and subdued them to the obedience of reason 
and religion, we are free to all the innocent 
gratifications and delights of life ; and we 
may lawfully, nay, further, I say we ought 
to, rejoice in this beautiful world, and all 
the conveniences and provisions, even for 
pleasure, we find in it ; and which, in much 
goodness, is afforded us to sweeten and allay 
the labours and troubles incident to this 
mortal state, nay, inseparable, I believe, by 
disappointments, cross accidents, bad health, 
unkind returns for good deeds, mistakes even 
among friends, and, what is more touching, 

Lady Russell 197 

death of friends. But in the worst of these 
calamities, the thought of a happy eternity 
does not alone support, but also revive, the 
spirit of man ; and he goeth forth to his 
labour with inward comfort, till the evening 
of his day (that is, his life on earth), and with 
the Psalmist cries out : ' I will consider thy 
heavens, even the works of thy fingers : the 
moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained. 
What is man, that thou art mindful of him : 
and the son of man, that thou shouldst so 
regard him ? ' (Ps. viii.). ' Thou madest him 
lower than the angels : to crown him with 
glory.' Here is matter of praise and 
gladness. 'The fool,' as the Psalmist ex- 
presses it, ' hath said in his heart, there is 
no God.' Or let us consider the man who 
is content to own an invisible power, yet 
tries to believe that when man has done 
living on this earth he lives no more ; but I 
would ask if any of these unhappy creatures. 

198 Memoirs of 

are fully persuaded, or that there does not 
remain in these men at times (as in sickness 
or sober thoughtfulness) some suspicion or 
doubt that it may be other than they try to 
think. And although they may, to shun such 
a thought, or be rid of such a contempla- 
tion, run away from it to some unprofitable 
diversion, or perhaps suffer themselves to 
be rallied out of such a thought, so de- 
structive to the way they walk in ; yet, to be 
sure, that man does not feel the peace and 
tranquillity he does who believes a future 
state and is a good man. For although this 
good man, when his mind may be clouded 
with some calamity very grievous to him, 
or the disorder of vapours to a melancholy 
temper, I say, if he is tempted to some 
suspicion that it is possible it may be other 
than he believes (pray observe), such a 
surmise or thought, nay, the belief, cannot 
drive him to any horror ; he fears no evil, 

Lady Russell 199 

because he is a good man, and with his life 
all sorrow ends too ; therefore it is not to 
be denied he is the wisest man who lives by 
the Scripture rule and endeavours to keep 
God's laws. First, his mind is in peace 
and tranquillity ; he walks sure who keeps 
innocence and takes heed to the thing that 
is right. Secondly, he is secure God is his 
friend, that Infinite Being; and He has said, 
' Come unto me, ye that are heavy laden ; my 
yoke is easy ' ; but guilt is certainly a heavy 
load ; it sinks and damps the spirits. ' A 
wounded spirit who can bear ? ' And the 
vile subtle spirit waits (I am persuaded) 
to drive the sinner to despair ; but godliness 
makes a cheerful heart. 

" Now, O Man, let not past errors dis- 
courage. Who lives and sins not? God 
will judge the obstinate, profane, unrelenting 
sinner, but full of compassion to the work 
of his own hand, if they will cease from 


Memoirs of 

doing evil and learn to do well, pray for 
grace to repent, and endeavour with that 
measure which will be given, if sincerely 
asked for, for at what time soever a sinner 
repents (but observe, this is no license to 
sin because at any time we may repent ; for 
that day we may not live to see, and so, 
like the fool in the parable, our lamps be 
untrimmed when we are called upon). Re- 
member that to forsake vice is the beginning 
of virtue ; and virtue certainly is most con- 
ducive to content of mind and a cheerful 
spirit. He (the virtuous man) rejoiceth with 
a friend in the good things he enjoys ; fears 
not the reproaches of any ; no evil spirit can 
approach to hurt him here, or accuse him in 
the great day of the Lord, when every soul 
shall be judged according as they have done 
good or evil. O blessed state! fit for life, 
fit for death! In this good state I wish and 
pray for all mankind ; but most particularly, 

Lady Russell 201 

and with all the ardour I am capable of, to 
those I have brought into the world and 
those dear to me. Thus are my fervent and 
frequent prayers directed that you may die 
the death of the righteous, and, to this end, 
that Almighty God would endue all with 
spiritual wisdom to discern what is pleasing 
in his sight." 


THUS did Lady Russell attempt to lead her 
children in the path in which she had found 
peace and consolation. It would be difficult 
to find a motherly exhortation so sweet and 
solemn, or in which anxious affection is 
manifested in close alliance with fervent 
piety. She had need to keep her faith in 
exercise : her trials were not yet over. 
Twenty years after she had addressed this 
letter to her children, she was at the bedside 
of her son, the Duke of Bedford, who had 
been suddenly attacked with smallpox ; the 
young Duchess and her children had been 
sent away for fear of infection ; the mother 
remained alone, receiving the last words, 

Memoirs of Lady Russell 203 

soothing the last moments of her dying son, 
and directing his thoughts heavenward. 
" Alas, my dear Lord Gal way," she wrote 
to her cousin, "my thoughts are yet all 
disorder, confusion, and amazement, and I 
think I am very incapable of saying or 
doing what I should. I did not know the 
greatness of my love to his person, till I 
could see it no more. When nature, who 
will be mistress, has in some measure, with 
time, relieved herself, then, and not till then, 
I trust the Goodness which hath no bounds, 
and whose power is irresistible, will assist 
me by His grace to rest contented with what 
His unerring providence has appointed and 
permitted. And I shall feel ease in this 
contemplation, that there was nothing un- 
comfortable in his death but the losing him. 
His God was, I verily believe, ever in his 
thoughts. Towards his last hours he called 
upon Him, and complained he could not 

204 Memoirs of 

pray his prayers. To what I answered, he 
said he wished for more time to make up 
his accounts with God. Then with remem- 
brance to his sisters, and telling me how 
good and kind his wife had been to him, 
and that he should have been glad to have 
expressed himself to her, said something to 
me of my double kindness to his wife, and 
so died away. There seemed no reluctancy 
to leave this world, patient and easy the 
whole time, and I believe knew his danger, 
but, loth to grieve those by him, delayed 
what he might have said. But why all this ? 
The decree is past. I do not ask your 
prayers; I know you offer them with sin- 
cerity to our Almighty God for your afflicted 

Six months had scarcely elapsed when a 
fresh blow fell. Her second daughter, the 
Duchess of Rutland, died in childbirth. Of 
her three children, her eldest daughter, the 

Lady Russell 205 

Duchess of Devonshire, alone was left, and 
had also just been confined. In order to con- 
ceal from her her sister's death, Lady Russell 
said, in answer to her inquiry, " I have 
seen your sister out of bed to-day." She 
had seen her in her coffin. 

Lady Russell knew herself better, and 
judged herself more severely, than the most 
rigid moralist could do. She was in the 
habit, as we have seen from her letter to 
her children, of constant and searching self- 
examination ; and after her death an un- 
finished paper was found, written in a hand 
feeble with age, in which, in the form of a 
prayer, she took a review of her life, an 
account of her faults and her sins, and besought 
God's forgiveness for them. " Vanity cleaves 
to me, I fear, O Lord," she writes, "in all I 
say, in all I do. In all I suffer proud, not 
enduring to slights or neglects, subject to 
envy the good parts of others, even as to 

206 Memoirs of 

worldly gifts. Failing in my duty to my 
superiors ; apt to be soon angry, with and 
without cause, too often ; and by it may have 
grieved those that desired to please me, or 
provoked others to sin by my rash anger. 
Not ready to own any advantage I may 
have received by good advice or example. 
Not well satisfied if I have not all the 
respect I expected even from my superiors. 
Such has been the pride of my naughty 
heart, I fear, and also neglect in my per- 
formances due to my superiors, children, 
friends, or servants." 

Her self-condemnation may appear ex- 
cessive ; but in thus accusing herself of 
pride and neglect of others, she shows 
that she was aware of her own defects, 
and was as penetrating as she was sincere. 

About 1690 her sight began to fail, and 
the few letters which remain from her later 
years are short, chiefly on matters of business 

Lady Russell 207 

or family concerns ; they breathe an air of 
calm sadness, like those of a captive who 
had seen all those whom she loved escape 
from their prison, and was awaiting her own 
turn for deliverance. A successful operation 
for cataract partially restored her sight ; but 
she frequently speaks of 'the necessity of 
sparing her eyes. In September 1723 she 
was alone at Southampton House, where 
she had lived with her father, her husband, 
and since her widowhood. On the 26th 
her grand-daughter, Lady Rachel Morgan, 
wrote to her brother, Lord James Cavendish : 
" The bad account we have received of grand- 
mamma Russell has put us into great dis- 
order and hurry. Mamma has left us, and 
gone to London. ... I believe she has 
stopped the letters on the road, for none 
have come here to-day, so that we are still 
in suspense. The last post brought us so 
bad an account that we have reason to fear 

2o8 Memoirs of Lady Russell 

the worst. I should be very glad thai 
Mamma should get to town time enough 
to see her, because it might be some 
satisfaction to both, and I hear Grand- 
mamma asked for her." 

They were allowed this last consolation. 
Lady Russell died on the 29th, in the arms 
of her only remaining child. The Weekly 
Journal of October 5 announced her death 
thus: "The Right Honourable the Lady 
Russell, relict of Lord Russell, died on 
Sunday morning last, at five o'clock, at 
Southampton House, aged eighty -six, and 
her corpse is to be carried to Chenies, in 
Buckinghamshire, to be interred with that 
of her lord." A week later another journal 
chronicled the funeral. Thus, after her long 
and chequered life, the last words of Lord 
Russell to Burnet were fulfilled for his wife, 
as they had been for himself : she had done 
with time, she had entered eternity. 


IN the romantic expedition made by Charles 
I. into Spain, when Prince of Wales, to see 
the Infanta Isabella, who had been proposed 
to him for a bride, he was accompanied, or 
followed, by some young Englishmen of 
rank, who were smitten, like their Prince, 
with the chivalrous spirit of the times. 
Among these the most eminent, next to 
the imperious favourite Buckingham him- 
self, was Sir Edward Herbert (a kinsman 
of Lord Herbert of Cherbury, and of the 
sweet and pious poet of the same name), 
then a youth of three - and - twenty, dis- 
tinguished equally by his personal and 

mental graces, excelling in all martial 



Memoirs of 

exercises, and uniting in his character that 
mixture of hardihood and gentleness which 
formed an accomplished cavalier. 

Sir Walter Aston was then resident at 
the Spanish Court, under the Earl of Bristol, 
who had been sent on a special mission to 
negotiate the Royal Marriage. Sir Walter 
was related to the great Earl of Strafford, 
whose tragical end afterwards added a deeper 
shade to the fate of his unfortunate master. 
Sir Walter's eldest daughter, known in the 
phrase of that period as Mistress Amabel 
Aston, was esteemed the most charming 
woman of her time, and celebrated in 
masques and Court poems as the Rose of 
England. She then resided with her father 
at Madrid ; and it may well be supposed 
that such a maid, then in the first bloom of 
youth and loveliness, would make a deep 
impression on the gay and gallant company 
who were assembled at the Court of Spain. 

Lady Herbert 211 

Even Prince Charles himself was struck, and 
it was whispered among the Court gossips 
that the beauty of the Infanta herself grew 
dim in his eyes, when compared with the 
charms of his fair country - woman. But 
Charles was a man of prudence and virtue. 
He saw that it would be improper to offer 
his hand to the daughter of a subject ; and 
he would not urge his passion on other 
terms. Among all this noble assemblage, 
the person preferred by the fair Mabel was 
Sir Edward Herbert. Indeed, the merits 
and attractions of both were so conspicuous 
that they were at once destined for each 
other by the public voice. Charles approved 
of the union ; and some time afterwards, on 
the return of Sir William's family to England, 
the Prince dignified the nuptials by his 

When Charles succeeded his father, Sir 
Edward and Lady Herbert were among 


Memoirs of 

the brightest ornaments of his Court, and 
continued to be distinguished by his favour. 
On the breaking out of troubles, they were 
zealous in the Royal cause. The good sense 
of Sir Edward disposed him to moderate 
counsels ; but such was his habitual venera- 
tion for the King, and horror at what he 
deemed the unnatural disloyalty of his 
subjects, that he was prevented from exer- 
cising the native justness of his intellect, 
or urging measures that were distasteful to 
Charles. At length, all compromises having 
failed, resource was had to arms ; the king- 
dom was delivered up to the miseries of civil 

Sir Edward Herbert was now one of 
the most active and prudent of the King's 
adherents in battle, as he had formerly been 
in council. His estates lying in the western 
counties (where the disposition was always 
the most favourable to the Royal cause), he 

Lady Herbert 213 

had the means of raising a considerable 
force among his friends and tenantry for 
the assistance of Charles. 

The first movements in the field were 
rather to the advantage of the Royalists ; 
but at the fatal battle of Edgehill they met 
with a complete discomfiture. In this en- 
gagement Sir Edward Herbert distinguished 
himself greatly ; but no capacity or exertion 
could prevail against the evil fortunes of 

Lady Herbert had continued to reside in 
London. She was now the mother of a 
large family many of them very young, 
with whom it would have been difficult to 
follow the movements of the Royal army ; 
while a residence at Sir Edward's country 
seat would have been full of danger (remote 
as it was, and without defence) in the dis- 
tracted state of the country. Her situation 
in London, however, was neither pleasant 

214 Memoirs of 

nor safe. Among the sour fanatics who 
governed there, little delicacy was to be 
expected towards a woman, however lovely 
or unfortunate ; little toleration for an 
adherent of the Established Church ; little 
favour for the wife of Sir Edward Her- 
bert, and the kinswoman of Lord Straf- 
ford. Although her conduct was guarded 
by the strictest circumspection and her 
correspondence with her husband confined 
to the ordinary concerns of her house and 
family (a precaution the more needful that 
their letters were often intercepted), she 
was exposed to frequent disturbance from 
the wilder agitation of the time. She was 
even more than once summoned before a 
Committee of the Parliament " to stand 
question" (as it was termed) " touching the 
evil character of the Malignants." Her 
behaviour on such occasions was so strongly 
marked by dignity, gentleness, and dis- 

Lady Herbert 215 

cretion, that no grounds of complaint 
could be found against her ; and the fierce 
nature of her inquisitors was almost softened 
to respect and pity. 

As the civil war advanced, it became 
impossible for her to remain longer in 
London with any comfort or safety. She 
lived in daily fear of insult ; and there was 
risk that she and her children might be de- 
tained as hostages for her husband. There- 
fore, she left London privately, with her 
family ; and, escaping all interruption, joined 
Sir Edward, who was then with the King 
at Oxford. She continued to accompany 
the motions of the army residing, with her 
family, at the nearest towns till the fatal 
affair of Naseby, which scattered the King's 
party and brought ruin on his cause. 

On the day of the decisive action, Lady 
Herbert was residing at the town of 
Northampton, which is several miles from 

216 Memoirs of 

the field of battle. Early in the engagement, 
reports arrived of the most favourable kind 
for the King's party, grounded on the 
successful charge of Prince Rupert. These 
were magnified by every tongue, and the 
King's adherents were full of joy and 
triumph and vengeance on the Roundheads. 
When these rumours reached Lady Herbert, 
she was in company with her kinsman old 
Sir Thomas Maynard, who had been 
wounded at the skirmish of Cropredy 
Bridge, and was still unable to take the 
field. When she asked his opinion of the 
news, he shook his head, and answered, 
" 'Tis fit, fair cousin, we hope the best ; but 
when I think of Marston Moor, I like not 
such passages." Then came varying rumours 
of good and evil. One bore that Cromwell 
was slain ; the next, that the King was 
unhorsed and taken prisoner. At length the 
Royal troops were seen flying in scattered 

Lady Herbert 217 

parties. Squadrons of the enemy's horse 
appeared in pursuit. It was too plain that 
the King's army had been overthrown. 

To the anxious inquiries of Lady 
Herbert about the fate of her husband, 
the fugitives who reached the town of 
Northampton returned doubtful and con- 
tradictory answers. He had made himself 
so conspicuous in the action that there were 
many reports about him. It was said that 
he had fled with the King ; that he had 
fallen in the field ; that he was wounded 
and a prisoner. What confirmed Lady 
Herbert's fears was that on all former 
occasions of this kind her husband had 
contrived to send her private intelligence 
of his safety. Now the day passed over, 
and night approached, and she heard 
nothing. She was convinced that he had 
fallen in the field. He might be wounded 
and still recoverable. Whilst she en- 

218 Memoirs of 

deavoured to appear cheerful, in order to 
soothe and pacify her children, she privately 
communicated her thoughts to Sir Thomas 
Maynard, and at the same time declared 
her resolution to go herself, that night, to the 
field and search for his body. " I beseech 
you, cousin," said he, " not to think of 
it. Let your faithful servant Travers go 
instead. Would I could go myself ! " 
"Alas, no!" said Lady Herbert, "who 
will persevere like me ?" " Yet bethink you 
of the dangers which you run the strag- 
gling parties, the lawless marauders, the 
spoilers of the slain." " I were an unfit wife 
for Edward Herbert, an unworthy daughter 
of the house of Wentworth, could dangers 
stop me in such a cause. Yet, for precau- 
tion's sake, I will take Travers with me." 

At midnight, after seeing her children put 
to rest, Lady Herbert rode towards the field 
of battle. She was attended by her servant 

Lady Herbert 219 

Travers, the son of one of Sir Edward's 
tenants, and generally his close companion 
in the field, but of late entrusted with the 
still dearer charge of his wife and children. 
This had been against her wishes, and she 
could not forbear saying to him as they 
rode: " Travers, hadst thou been with him, 
methinks this would not have befallen. We 
could have spared thee better than thy master 
could." " Indeed, so please your ladyship," 
answered he, " it went hard that I could not 
attend my honoured master in the battle : 
I might have done him some service." 
Travers led a third horse with a blanket 
and some other necessaries, in case they 
should find Sir Edward wounded. In this 
state they reached the field of Naseby. 

It was a chill and boisterous night, the 
moon breaking out by fits between the 
clouds which drove over the sky. As 
they approached the field they met frequent 

220 Memoirs of 

stragglers laden with spoil ; and here and 
there lay a miserable wounded man implor- 
ing help which they could not give. When 
they reached the scene of action, all was 
silent. The living array and the throng of 
war had passed on, and nothing remained 
but the still and motionless heaps of the 
dead and dying. The moon sometimes 
gave a prospect over the encumbered field. 
Here the dead were piled closely together ; 
there they had fallen dispersed in broken 
flight. Here was struck to earth the head 
grizzled by age ; there the glossy ringlets of 
youth lay soiled in blood. Mangled limbs 
were scattered about, mixed with the carcasses 
of horses, gun-carriages, and broken tumbrils. 
Elsewhere were small-arms and fragments of 
feathers and clothing. The spoilers of the 
dead had now nearly done their work ; but 
one or two straggling women still moved up 
and down like spectres among the heaps of 

Lady Herbert 221 

slain. Lady Herbert had dismounted, and 
was picking her cautious and shuddering 
steps over the obstructed ground. She 
made up to one of the women, and asked 
if she could tell where the King's Guards 
had fought. "Aye, gossip," answered she. 
" Be'est thou come arifling too ? But i' faith 
thou'rt of the latest. The swashing gallants 
were as fine as peacocks ; but we've stript 
their bravery, I trow. Yonder stood the 
King's tent; and yonder about do most of 
them lie ; but thdu'lt scarce find a lading for 
thy cattle now." 

Lady Herbert went, by this direction, 
towards a rising ground where the frag- 
ments of the royal tent were still to be 
seen. The dead here lay wedged in close 
heaps, indicating that the conflict had been 
long and desperate. The combatants had 
often fallen in mortal struggle, grasped 
together in the very attitude in which they 

222 Memoirs of 

had given the death-wounds. Here Lady 
Herbert, having lighted a lanthorn, began 
her hideous labour; turning over the stiff 
and heavy carcasses, touching the mangled 
limbs, and gazing on the ghastly distorted 
faces. Sometimes she shrank at discovering 
symptoms of half-extinguished life in bodies 
which appeared dead. Sometimes she heard 
groans, and half - muttered words which 
she could not interpret. Her hands and 
dress were stained with blood. Long did 
she thus persevere, but all in vain. Even 
her faithful servant had advised her to give 
up the search. Suddenly, as she kneeled 
beside a dead body, she felt a light cold 
touch on her hand, and, looking round, 
beheld a small dog. " Good heavens ! " she 
exclaimed. " It is Fido ! He may help us 
to find his master." " I'll warrant him so far 
forth," said Travers. "If it please your 
Ladyship to follow him, I'll lead the horses." 

Lady Herbert 223 

The animal (a beautiful small greyhound, 
which always attended Sir Edward) bounded 
forward, turning round from time to time 
with a sharp and cheerful bark, till he led 
them to a hillock, the sides of which were 
covered with slain. The dog forced his 
way between the bodies, and at last stopped 
where several were lying heaped on each 
other. He then pushed and tore with his 
snout and paws, looking round and whining 
and barking with great eagerness. Travers, 
leaving the horses, dragged off several bodies, 
and at last came to one which, from the tones 
and gestures of the animal, they could not 
doubt to be that of Sir Edward. He had 
been despoiled of his cloak, arms, and 
upper garments ; but on bringing the Ian- 
thorn to his face they found that it was he. 
The body, covered with many wounds, was 
cold and stiff; and every feature seemed 
fixed in the stillness of death, The dog 

224 Memoirs of 

licked his face, scratched him with his paws, 
and used every effort to arouse him ; and 
when all was in vain, sent forth a long and 
piteous howl. Lady Herbert and Travers 
raised the body, chafed the temples, applied 
strong scents to the nostrils ; but without 
success. "Alas," said Travers, "'tis a lost 
labour. All we can do now is to procure a 
Christian burial." " Peace, Travers ! Me- 
thinks I feel warmth about the heart. Let 
us bear him to yonder cottages. We may 
find help there." 

They wrapped the body in the blanket 
which they had brought, and Travers, mount- 
ing his horse, supported it in his arms before 
him. Lady Herbert followed on foot, lead- 
ing the other two horses. In this way they 
reached a small hamlet, the inmates of which 
had fled at the approach of the hostile armies. 
They entered the nearest cottage. No living 
creature was within ; but the embers of a fire 

Lady Herbert 225 

remained unextinguished. These they care- 
fully fed with wood till the flame revived. 
They placed Sir Edward on a bed ; applied 
warmth to his body ; rubbed him with strong 
essences ; and used all means to arrest and 
restore the fleeting spirit. At length they 
could perceive a change. The vital warmth 
slowly extended from about the heart ; a 
feeble pulse was distinguishable, and gradu- 
ally became firmer. Then he heaved a deep 
sigh. It was the most grateful sound that ever 
struck Lady Herbert's ear. Soon afterwards 
he opened his languid eyes ; gazed with a 
bewildered look upon her, as she hung over 
him ; and, making an effort at recollection, 
said, in a low and tremulous voice, " Mabel, 
is it thou ? " " Yes, Edward : it is I : whom 
else shouldst thou think to see at such an 

The wounds Sir Edward had received 

were so severe, and his exhaustion from 



Memoirs of 

cold and loss of blood was so great, that he 
was with difficulty removed from the cottage 
into the town of Northampton. There, how- 
ever, it was dangerous to remain. The 
country around was all in possession of the 
Parliamentary forces ; and the consequence 
of discovery would have been his immediate 
arrest. He was, therefore, secretly conveyed 
into Gloucestershire, to his own estate ; but, 
as a residence at his own house would have 
led to detection, he was carried to a cottage 
at some distance, situated in a deep glen, 
and thickly surrounded by woods. Here, 
it was hoped, he might escape the parties 
of horse which, during the siege of Bristol, 
scoured the western country, and lived at 
free quarters on the inhabitants, as a 
penalty for their attachment to the Royal 

In this retirement he continued to gain 
strength. Lady Herbert, the better to lull 

Lady Herbert 227 

suspicion, appeared frequently with her family 
at Northampton, and soon after ventured to 
remove them to Oxford. From there she 
often visited the cottage to watch over her 
husband's recovery, making her journeys by 
night attended by the faithful Travers. On 
one of these occasions, as they approached 
the cottage towards morning, they were 
alarmed by perceiving strewed on the narrow 
path which led into the glen fragments of 
feathers, silk, and men's apparel. As they 
came nearer, they saw the cottage door 
standing open. Lady Herbert hastily dis- 
mounted, and, entering, found all within 
empty and silent. The furniture, with some 
musical instruments and papers, lay scattered 
about and broken. Everything bore the 
marks of disturbance and violence. " Good 
heavens, Travers!" she cried. "What hath 
befallen? " " Alas, I fear me that the Round- 
heads have come down and surprised him ; 

228 Memoirs of 

but I will run to Gabriel's cottage and 
inquire. Will your Ladyship be pleased 
to tarry here till I return?" - " Nay, 
Travers : methinks I had better go with 

They soon reached the old forester's 
dwelling, situated farther up the glen, where 
their fears were confirmed. " Alas, Lady," 
said the old man, " I think there be some 
false heart that hath betrayed him ; or at 
least a shrewd mischance must have dis- 
covered his retreat to the rebels. For at 
yester eventide we saw troopers passing 
between the trees, and soon they fell into 
the path leading towards the cottage. My 
son Ned (mine honoured master's godson, 
so please your Ladyship) ran through the 
bushes to get before them and give the 
alarm ; but he was too late. They had 
already seized upon the cottage, and Sir 
Edward was in their hands. When Ned 

Lady Herbert 229 

ventured near, they let fly some bullets at 
him, and one took the tuft off his cap. As 
soon as they departed, we ran to the cottage, 
but found all gone." " Did you note which 
way they took ?" said Lady Herbert. " We 
were all on the watch, so please your Lady- 
ship, but durst not go near. However, to 
our thought they made toward Cirencester." 
"They must be for London," she said, "and 
thither will I follow." 

Lady Herbert hastened towards London, 
taking on her way the town of Oxford, 
where she saw her children, and settled how 
they should be cared for in her absence. 
On her arrival in London, she found that 
Sir Edward had been committed to the 
Tower. Many were the intercessions used, 
and many the repulses suffered, before she 
could prevail with the fierce and fanatic 
rulers of that time to allow her to see her 
husband. She at length succeeded, through 

230 Memoirs of 

the influence of Mrs. Claypole, Cromwell's 
daughter. She found Sir Edward languish- 
ing under sickness and pain. His sudden 
journey, while scarcely recovered from his 
wounds, had brought on a relapse ; and this 
had been little alleviated amid the neglect 
and hardships of a prison. His spirits were 
revived by the presence of his wife ; but 
there was still room for cruel anxiety, both 
on his own account and for the Royal cause. 
Lady Herbert shared in these fears, but en- 
deavoured to disguise them, and discharged 
the hard task of feigning hope which she 
could not feel. In the midst of these dis- 
tresses, a day was fixed for Sir Edward's 
trial, the news of which affected his wife far 
more deeply than himself. She looked for- 
ward to the result, and expected neither 
justice nor mercy. The remembrance of 
Lord Strafford occurred to them both. Sir 
Edward burned to emulate his noble con- 

Lady Herbert 231 

stancy ; but Lady Herbert thought of his 
fate, and trembled. 

The trial was conducted as such proceed- 
ings too often are in factious times when 
the accusers are judges and the accused 
are pre-condemned. Suffice it to say, that 
Sir Edward was charged with misleading 
the King by false counsels, and maintain- 
ing and abetting him in arms against his 
people. He was found guilty of treason, 
and sentenced to death. 

The dreadful interval which ensued was 
employed by Lady Herbert in unavailing 
supplications for pardon. The charitable 
Mrs. Claypole again interfered, but without 
success. At length, rendered at once in- 
ventive and desperate by the approaching 
danger, Lady Herbert resolved upon a bold 
plan. She first despatched Travers to her 
family, with instructions to have them con- 
veyed privately to France. He was directed 

232 Memoirs of 

to return immediately afterwards to the little 
seaport of Folkestone, and to engage a boat 
and remain there till joined by his master. 
Then Lady Herbert, taking advantage of 
the permission to visit her husband, stated 
that she should not return home at night, 
and, exchanging clothes with him, dismissed 
him towards evening in her place. She then 
went to bed, on the pretext of illness, and 
thus remained unsuspected in place of Sir 
Edward till the next morning. 

Sir Edward escaped to France. His 
wife's situation, however, was far from agree- 
able. The ruling faction, wroth at having 
the prey taken out of their grasp, wreaked 
their vengeance on the instrument of their 
disappointment. Her imprisonment was 
close and severe, varied only from time to 
time by a summons for examination before 
a Committee. When questioned as to her 
treasonable designs, "Alas, Sirs," said she, 

Lady Herbert 233 

" I had no design but to save my husband, 
and that was surely loyal. Which of you, 
on such enforcement, would have done 
less ? " 

After some months' confinement, the 
Committee, feeling that the persecution of 
a noble and virtuous woman brought dis- 
credit on their cause, although they would 
not openly authorise her release, resolved 
to connive at her escape. She was, at the 
same time, given to understand that she 
must hasten her departure from England, as 
it would be necessary to make some show 
of pursuit, to satisfy their zealous adherents. 
Accordingly, she was permitted to leave the 
Tower, and proceeded on horseback towards 
the coast, with a single attendant. She took 
the road through Sussex keeping to the 
westward, as there she was less liable to 
discovery than she would have been in the 
nearer communications with France, and, 

234 Memoirs of 

towards evening, reached the small fishing 
town of Seaford, near Beachy Head. To 
escape remark, her attendant stopped on the 
outskirts of the town, and returned to 
London with the horses by a different road. 
Thus left alone, she knocked at the door of 
a fisherman's cottage. The man opened it 
himself, and she asked him if she could get 
a boat to pass over to France. " A boat to 
France!" he exclaimed. "Why, not to- 
night, sure ? " " Yes, good friend : to-night, 
if it be possible : my occasions brook no 
delay." "Why, there is nought but a light 
wherry afloat, no bigger than a cockle shell. 
You had better tarry till morning." Here 
the fisherman's wife, overhearing a female 
voice, came out with a child in her arms, 
and several children hanging about her. 
"It were a crazy thing," said she, "to go 
afloat to-night : thou shalt do no such, 
Jacob." " Peace, wench," cried he. " Sure, 

Lady Herbert 235 

I am old enough to answer for myself." 
" Indeed, friends," said Lady Herbert, " I 
am loth to trouble you. Yet it is very 
needful I should go to-night, if you will 
aid me so far. My strait is great, or I 
would not ask you." This was spoken in 
a voice and manner that gained upon these 
rude but kindly people. "Jacob," said the 
woman, "she seemeth a noble lady, and 
many such are sore pressed in these times. 
Thou must e'en do her will. But, lady, 
wilt thou not consent to tarry all night in 
our poor house ? They will take thee 
betimes in the morning." " I pray thy 
excuse, my good dame, though with thanks 
for thy kindness. It is a heavy need which 
urgeth me to be gone ; and, therefore, I do en- 
treat both your furtherance." " Then, Jacob," 
said the woman, " thou must needs go. Hie 
thee down to the Point, and get Will Roberts 
to help thee." 

236 Memoirs of 

While the fisherman was away, Lady 
Herbert remained with his wife, and com- 
pletely won the poor woman's heart by her 
sweet and gracious manner towards her- 
self and her children. This is a subject 
on which two mothers are never at a loss 
for conversation, however strangers to each 
other, or different in rank and circumstances. 
At length the man returned, and told them 
that all was ready. Lady Herbert, attended 
by the good woman and her children, went 
down to a little creek, where the boat was lying. 
Here another man stood waiting for them; and 
she took an affectionate leave of her humble 
companions, who in return put up prayers 
for her safety. Then she stepped on board. 
At this moment, a thought of her defenceless 
situation, embarking thus with two men 
strangers to her, and rude in their habits of 
life, came across her mind. She breathed 
a silent appeal to Heaven, and trusted to its 

Lady Herbert 237 

protection. She read in the weather- 
beaten faces of her attendants signs of 
honest and simple hearts, and felt that she 
need not fear. Indeed, they regarded her 
with reverence as a superior being, and 
would have hazarded their lives in her 

The night was dark and squally ; rain 
began to fall ; and towards morning there 
came an adverse breeze, which raised the 
waves, tossing the little bark to and fro, 
and covering them with spray. The men 
pulled with all their vigour ; but made little 
way ; and as day broke, and the wind fell, 
they found themselves enveloped in a heavy 
mist, which prevented their seeing before 
them. At length, however, the mist cleared 
away, and they were relieved by a view of 
the French coast, which, after a tedious and 
stormy passage, they reached in safety, 
landing at the little port of Fecamp, in 

238 Memoirs of 

Normandy. Here Lady Herbert took leave 
of her hardy conductors, with a liberal reward 
for their services, and set out to join her 
husband, in Paris. 

To Sir Edward and her children the 
meeting was equally unexpected and gratify- 
ing ; for during her imprisonment all corre- 
spondence had been forbidden, and they 
were full of apprehension about her at the 
time she appeared before them. Her joy 
at the reunion was cruelly damped by the 
appearance of her husband, whose pale and 
emaciated looks showed that his health had 
rather lost than gained since they were 
separated. Indeed, his anxiety at her 
situation, accompanied by a feeling of blame 
to himself as its cause, had kept his mind 
in a state of constant disquiet, and had 
aggravated his bodily ailment. Though his 
health improved a little on her arrival, the 
amendment was temporary ; and it soon 

Lady Herbert 239 

became evident that his life was ebbing 
away. His wife observed the fatal symp- 
toms, but, amid her anguish, preserved 
an external composure. Every effort of 
skill and tenderness was tried in vain ; and 
about four months after Lady Herbert had 
rejoined her husband, he died in her 

The trials of this noble woman had thither- 
to been of such a nature as called for active 
exertion. The lot which now became her 
portion was perhaps more difficult to bear : 
a long, unvarying course of exile, dependence, 
and neglect. Her husband's estates had been 
declared forfeited. Herself and her family 
were proscribed by the ruling powers. Her 
only resource was to retire to a small pro- 
vincial town in France, where, by the assist- 
ance of her own and her husband's friends, 
whose fortunes had partly outlived the public 
storm, she procured a bare sufficiency for the 

240 Memoirs of 

wants of life. Such assistance was not 
discountenanced by Cromwell, whose faults 
were not those of a little mind. She devoted 
herself to the education of her children ; 
constantly maintaining in herself, and in- 
stilling into them, resignation to the will of 
Providence, and a hope for better times. 

Such times were long in coming, and for 
the first portion of her retreat sorrows seemed 
to accumulate around her. The tragic end 
of Charles I. filled her with grief and horror. 
Some time afterwards, when his son made an 
unsuccessful attempt to recover the Crown, 
Lady Herbert's eldest son, the inheritor of 
his father's accomplishments of mind and 
person, accompanied his Sovereign to Eng- 
land, and fell at the fatal field of Worcester, 
after performing deeds of skill and valour 
beyond his years. He died in the arms of the 
faithful Travers, who had attended him ; and 
in his last moments sent a loving message to 

Lady Herbert 241 

his mother, and a ring which had belonged 
to Sir Edward to his next brother. It bore 
a head of Charles I., with the inscription, 
"Abyde Loyall" 

At length Charles 1 1. recovered the Throne 
of his ancestors. Among those who offered 
their congratulations on that event, Lady 
Herbert sent Sir William, now her eldest son, 
to pay his duty, and solicit the restoration of 
his paternal estates. These still remained 
sequestrated for public use, and had been 
placed by Parliament at the King's disposal. 
That voluptuous monarch, who was alike 
devoid of gratitude and resentment, paid little 
attention to the young man's claims, and 
seemed more inclined to appropriate the 
estates to his own pleasures, or to bestow 
them on some of the profligate and greedy 
favourites by whom he was surrounded. Sir 
William wrote in a desponding strain to his 
mother. "What?" said she. "Is it come 


242 Memoirs of 

to this ? I must needs go myself, and lay 
before His Majesty all that we have done and 
suffered in his cause." 

Lady Herbert, though advanced in years, 
retained much of the beauty of her early days; 
and the nobleness and dignity of her manners 
gained her the admiration and respect of the 
polite monarch and his gay and frivolous 
followers. Being admitted with two of her 
sons to his presence, she addressed him 
thus : " Your Majesty sees before you the 
widow of Edward Herbert, who perished 
by the wounds and hardships which he 
suffered in the service of Your Majesty's 
father. You see the mother of another 
Edward Herbert, who died on the field of 
Worcester, fighting by Your Majesty's side ; 
and a family who have endured long years of 
exile and poverty ; and by their loyalty have 
lost all, save honour ; who now seek but their 
own, which it is in Your Majesty's power to 

Lady Herbert 243 

restore, and who (should it be given) will 
ever hold it as a trust to be freely employed 
in the same cause." 

This address moved even the indifferent 
soul of Charles ; but its effect would soon 
have been effaced, amid the gaiety and 
laughter of his thoughtless companions, had 
not the better counsels of Clarendon and 
Ormonde prevailed, and saved the honour 
of their master. Through their influence, 
Lady Herbert's suit at length was granted. 
She soon found, however, that the Court 
of Charles was no place for her. It suited 
neither her habits nor her principles. There- 
fore, after gracefully returning her thanks to 
the King for his act of justice, she retired to 
her son's estate, and sought solace in the 
bosom of her family. Here, surrounded by 
domestic peace, in the remembrance of 
former scenes, and in exercises of piety 
and beneficence, Lady Herbert passed the 

244 Memoirs of Lady Herbert 

remainder of her days, after a life chequered 
by many vicissitudes, darkened by many 
sorrows, but ennobled by the highest attri- 
butes of our nature affection, courage, and 


Printed by R. & R. CLARK, LIMITED, Edinburgh. 

In Square Crown &vo. Printed on Light Paper ; with Deckled 
) and bound in Buckram. Price 6s. 







Containing a Frontispiece Portrait of the Author , and several 

small Illustrations from Pen-and-ink Sketches in the 

Author's Journals. 

This narrative begins with the Battle of Talavera, at which the 
chronicler, a young officer in the Royal Engineers, was disabled 
by a wound in the leg. It vividly describes the social conditions 
of France and Spain during the wars in the early part of the 
century, and in particular the chivalrous courtesy with which the 
French officers treated any enemies who fell into their hands. 


In Crown %w, Cloth, gilt top, price 6*. ; or in White Veil 
Cloth, extra gilt, gilt top, price 75. 6d. 






" He has given us a fascinating book, the perusal of which cannot fail 
to invest the Bible, even for many of those who know it best, with a fresh 
interest and significance." Westminster Gazette. 

"Considering its object, the selection of passages by Mr. Frazer is 
nearly as perfect as could be desired. Hardly a verse or song that rings 
in any one's memory but will be found here." Bookman. 

"Mr. Frazer's selections are, as was to be expected, made with care 
and taste, and he has prefixed to each of them an appropriate heading. "- 

" Mr. Frazer appends a few pages of notes illustrative of customs and 
scenes. These are excellent, and make us wish he had extended them." 
British Weekly. 

" The notes are simply admirable." National Observer. 

"The thanks, not only of all who love the Bible for the truth's sake, 
but of those also who, as yet, recognise in it only the first classic in the 
world, the most ancient of all written records, and the purest literature 
existing in human language, are due to Mr. Frazer for his painstaking and 
successful volume, the perusal of which cannot fail to elevate the soul and 
inspire the loftiest conceptions of the ways and works of the Most High." 
English Churchman. 


In One Volume^ Large Crown Svo, Cloth^ gilt top, price >js. 6d. 









" The task is one which Carlyle desired to see accomplished nearly 
thirty years ago, when he wrote in one of the least known of his works : 
' It is really a loss to English, and even to universal, literature, that Knox's 
hasty and strangely interesting, impressive, and peculiar book . . . has 
not been rendered far more extensively legible to serious mankind at large 
than is hitherto the case.' It will be interesting to see if Mr. Guthrie's 
labour can restore John Knox's ' History ' to the place of honour it once 
held, but seems long to have lost, among Scottish classics." Glasgow 


ST. THOMAS OF CANTERBURY. A study of the evidence 
bearing on his Death and Miracles. By the Rev. EDWIN A. ABBOTT, 
D.D. In 2 Vols. Demy 8vo. Cloth. Containing Intaglio Plate 
Frontispiece. Price 245. 

Part I. gives translations of eleven Latin narratives of the Martyrdom, together with 
those of Gamier, and the Saga, comparing the whole with the modern accounts of 
Stanley and Tennyson, and deducing general rules of criticism applicable to synoptic 
documents. In Part II., the Miracles of St. Thomas are described from the books of 
Benedict and William of Canterbury, and those common to both writers are arranged 
in parallel columns, an attempt being made to show the authenticity of many of them, to 
trace their gradual degeneration, to indicate the origination and growth of legend, and 
to point out the bearing of the whole subject on the study of the Gospels. 

With a Map showing route, and containing 1 6 page Illustrations, also 
several small Pen-and-ink Sketches by CECIL HAYTER, who accom- 
panied the Author on his journey. PostSvo. Cloth. Price IDS. 6d. 
This work describes certain regions within the Arctic Circle which had not previously 

been explored by Europeans. It is less a record of sport and adventure than a chatty 

account of the curious ways and customs of Lapps, Finns, and other peoples of the Far 



SCOTT. Containing over 50 Illustrations, mostly full-page, from pen- 
and-ink drawings by the Author. Square Crown 8vo. Cloth. Price 
7s. 6d. 

This book deals with some of those picturesque and out-of-the-way hamlets which 
visitors to the South may have seen perched on hill-tops or hidden in the valleys, away 
from the beaten track of tourists. The district referred to is that part of Liguria which 
commences at the French frontier ; and a brief historical outline traces the origin and 
development of these little "Ville" as they were called from the early days of the 
Genoese Republic, through the interesting period when some of them, revolting from the 
oppression of Ventimiglia, formed the " Community of the Otto Luoghi," and proceeded 
to carry out their ideas of Home Rule. Several of the villages still possess a number of 
their old documents, account-books, and other records, and these are now laid under 
contribution for the first time. 

OF ROME. By the late Prof. J. MUIRHEAD, LL.D. New Edition. 
Revised and Edited by HENRY GOUDY, M.A., D.C.L., LL.D., 
Regius Professor of Civil Law, Oxford ; Fellow of All Souls College. 
Demy 8vo. Cloth. Price 2 is. 

Author of " His Grace o' the Gunne." Crown 8vo. Cloth. Price 6s. 

fervour in a 
or of "His 


A romantic study of the struggle between human nature and religious f< 
issenting community in the West of England. The novel is by the auth 


Grace o" the Gunne. 

HIND. Crown 8vo. Cloth. Price 6s. 


Founded on the the 
Revelation will be in the 

r, prevalent among Oriental peoples, that the ultimate 
'est, the plot of this novel is laid in London amid the most 
modern conditions. The story, however, although exceedingly original and daring, is 
neither fantastic nor frivolous. On the contrary, it will commend itself not less to the 
philosophic student of religion than to the lover of an exciting tale. 


DA . Stepney/ 
Wl Manners, Lady 
R97S8 .Memoirs of Lady Russell 
and Lady Herbert